Injury concern, Van Dijk rival, world’s best – Man United given final Lisandro Martinez verdict

Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez was feeling the love from his domestic and international teammate Alejandro Garnacho this week after another brilliant display for Argentina.

Martinez scored in the Copa America quarter-finals against Ecuador but was denied the winning moment late on thanks to Kevin Rodriguez’s equaliser. The World Cup holders eventually progressed to the semi-finals on penalties with Lionel Messi the only player to miss from 12 yards during the 4-2 shootout victory.

After the game, Garnacho branded Martinez ‘the best in the world’. It follows Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s comments following the FA Cup final that ‘the butcher’ is at least one of the world’s top five defenders. “Lisandro Martinez is top five centre-backs in the world,” the Spaniard said after the game. He made the difference on this game by playing passes through our defence.”

It has all got us thinking at MEN Sport where the centre-back ranks among his peers. Here is what our United writers had to say.

George Smith

For all of United’s injury problems last season, nobody was missed more than Martinez. The Argentine is arguably the most important player to Erik ten Hag’s style and that was proven with his performance in the FA Cup final, resulting in Pep Guardiola admitting he “made the difference” with his passing capabilities.

Signed because of his ball-playing credentials, Martinez, as a package, ranks as one of the best. But is he the best centre-back in the world? You would argue not, but he is certainly on the periphery of that status.

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