Ex-Manchester United great: Thiago Silva is best defender in the world

Former England star Rio Ferdinand believes that Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva is the best defender in the world.

The Paris Saint-Germain and La Selecao captain has established himself as one of the finest defensive players in world football over the last few years, and enjoys an outstanding partnership alongside David Luiz for his national side.

Their tandem went some way to convincing the oil-rich Ligue 1 champions to break the world-transfer record for a centre-back by signing Luiz from Chelsea for around £50 million earlier this summer, but it is Silva who the former £30 million defender rates as the finer of the pair.

Speaking in his role as a BBC analyst, Ferdinand, who left United after 12 years earlier this summer, believes that a lot rests of the shoulders of the PSG skipper, but thinks that he has the talent to thrive.

He told a pre-World Cup edition of Match of the Day:“Thiago Silva and Neymar are the most important players [for Brazil]. For me, Thiago Silva is the best defender in the world. I love the way he plays, I played against him when he was at Milan, he’s very good on the ball but he’s become a more commanding centre-half now.

"He drags people around the pitch and I think someone like David Luiz, who is a bit of a maverick, [Silva is] enough to make sure that he controls him.

"He's got the likes of Fernandinho in front of him who is a good defensive midfielder and he has the security there to let people like Marcelo go a little bit further forward but [Silva] is the person that gels everyone together.

"They're my team, I think Brazil are a team that have got the fans and country behind them. They're playing at home and the conditions [are ideal] and I think their defence is fantastic but they've got the likes of Neymar can pull something out of a hat."

Brazil begin their World Cup campaign against Croatia in the opening game on Thursday, and the whole nation are expecting Luiz Felipe Scolari's side to emerge victorious in their homeland.

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