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He said what?
David[Luiz] is going to be one of the greatest central defenders in the world. Why? Because of his characteristics: technical ability, anticipation and speed. I think he's played fantastically well here, but sometimes people have misconceptions and a player has to carry that stamp for the rest of his life.
I just came across this one right now, and my jaw nearly dropped as read it to myself.
Villas-Boas, for all his let downs as the Chelsea manager, never came off as not knowing the game, but here he may have proven that his arrogance about the perception of it can blind him to the truth.
I am going to skip right past the “greatest central defender in the world” bit and get right into where the quote really becomes a mess.
I am going to list five of the game’s best center-backs of recent years: Puyol, John Terry, Vincent Kompany, Carvalho and Nemanja Vidic.
Now, here are five of the best midfielders in recent years: Iniesta, Xavi, Sneijder, Modric and Yaya Toure.
Finally, the five of the best forwards in the world: Christiano Ronaldo, Messi, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez.
Now, I want you to make a list where you rank, from one to fifteen, each player on their combined technical ability, anticipation and speed.
Do any of those defenders crack the top seven? How about the top 10?
No? That’s because those are not important attributes for a defender!
I have no idea how Villas-Boas could honestly reason that David Luiz will be an excellent player in the future off of those points. If anything, they are the reason he suffers so much.
His technical ability gives him overconfidence on the ball, causing him to play with it too much in the back. His anticipation leads him to make judgments too quickly and leads him into poor tackles. And his speed sees him get out of position far too often without him even realizing it.
Sure, there are defenders who excel in those places, but the likes of Lucio and Pique do it in addition to good position, a strong aerial presence and intelligent play.
I am not here to suggest that Luiz is a hopeless cause, but he will never gain success by heightening the parts of his game that Villas-Boas recognizes.
But what is most dumbfounding is that this is what Villas-Boas thinks makes a good defender. It puts an extra bit of doubt in my mind about how he sees the game overall.