William Saliba has ranked John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Vincent Kompany in terms of their status as legendary Premier League centre-backs and the results are pretty interesting.
In an exercise with Sky Sports, the Frenchman was tasked with ranking a number of different players in a variety of categories. He ranked the forwards he finds the hardest to play against, the best current defenders in the Premier League, as well as the greatest defenders in the league's history.
Terry, Ferdinand and Kompany are all some of the best of the very best and have each forged legendary careers that anyone would be envious of. In terms of great Premier League centre-backs, there are few better than this trio, so it was a tough task handed to Saliba, having to rank them all.
You could ask 100 people to rank the three and it wouldn't be all that surprising if there were a variety of results, with all three having a strong case for being the best of the bunch, but getting a current centre-back playing in England's top flight to rank them adds some weight to the list. His decisions are quite interesting as well, so let's dive into them.
3 John Terry
Right off the bat, Saliba's list took a controversial turn when he ranked Terry dead last out of the three players. To many, the former Chelsea man has a good argument for being the best Premier League defender of all time.
The Englishman was like steel in the heart of the Blues' defence and his iron fortitude played a major role in the club's success throughout the 2000s and 2010s. As club captain, Terry won just about everything there was to win, including a handful of Premier League titles and even a Champions League triumph.
With 492 appearances in the top flight and 42 goals, the former England captain is the highest-scoring defender in Premier League history, which only adds to his incredible legacy. As Chelsea captain, he was a pivotal member of the greatest defence in English football history as the 2004/05 side broke numerous records as they trounced the league to their first Championship in 50 years. They picked up more clean sheets in that campaign than anyone in history and his role in the side can't be overstated.
Sure, Terry wasn't without controversy, but his impact and performances on the pitch can't be denied, so it's interesting to see him ranked dead last by Saliba, but that's just a testament to how highly he rates the other two.
2 Rio Ferdinand
After a little more deliberation, Saliba ranked Ferdinand second and as runner-up to Kompany. Again, Ferdinand has a strong case for being considered the greatest defender in Premier League history and his legacy on the pitch is pretty unmatched.
Through spells with West Ham United, Leeds United and Manchester United, he made 493 appearances in England's top flight. He was a fine defender throughout his early career, but it wasn't until he moved to Old Trafford, when he became the most expensive defender in the world for the second time as well as the most expensive British transfer ever, that he really took things to another level.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferdinand was unstoppable at United and won an incredible amount of silverware with the club, including six league trophies. Alongside Nemanja Vidic, he formed one of the greatest Premier League centre-back partnerships ever and the two were a nightmare for just about any striker they came up against.
Not only was he an exceptional defender, but the league recognised it, with the former United man named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on a staggering six separate occasions. There were few centre-backs in the world who could match up to Ferdinand during his prime, and it's hard to imagine the Red Devils would have built the dynasty they did during the 2000s and early 2010s if they didn't have a talent like him in the heart of the back line. Saliba didn't pick him first, though, and thinks a certain former Manchester City man is the best of the best.
1 Vincent Kompany
Above the others, the Arsenal man ranked Kompany as the best of the best. The former City man was a dynamic force in the defence for the Manchester side and was an intimidating presence whenever he took to the field. Whether it was his incredible leadership, his strength and aerial ability or his knack for performing when it mattered the most, he was a huge hit with fans of the club and has earned icon status at the Etihad.
Over 11 years in England, Kompany made 265 appearances in the league for the Cityzens and managed to forge an incredible legacy, despite injuries forcing him out for large portions of his tenure at the side. Named the Premier League Player of the Season, though in 2011-12, when he was healthy, there was no one quite on his level. The Belgian was also included in the Premier League Team of the Year three times and won an envious number of trophies for his troubles.
While his defensive contributions over the years are largely what earned him his stats as a club legend, it was the goal he pulled out of the bag against Leicester City in 2019 to ensure City went on to beat Liverpool in that year's title race that ensured he would go down in the pantheon as one of the very best ever. The goal, which saw the Belgian unleash a ferocious effort from distance, which sailed into the top right corner, even won the Premier League Goal of the Year award that season, a feat neither of the other two quite managed.
Saliba is clearly a fan as well, admitting he has spent time watching videos of Kompany on YouTube to try and emulate his style of defending. When asked about the Belgian and whether he tries to model his game after him, the Arsenal man said: "Of course. I watch some clips on YouTube sometimes to learn." It's clearly working too, with Saliba currently one of the very best defenders in the Premier League.
VIDEO: Saliba ranks all-time Premier League centre-backs