1 Oct 2012

Hansen: Man Utd star is the "best in the history of the Premier League". Agree?

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen wrote the book on the the art of defending, and the revered ex-Red knows what's required to be a top class defender at the highest level, and in his latest column, the former Reds captain makes a particularly bold claim about the importance of one particular Manchester United player.

Writing in The Telegraph today, Hansen - who won 8 league titles with Liverpool - bemoaned the decline in form of United's 30m defender - who he described as being 'brutally exposed' against Tottenham - but claimed that the 34-year old is the greatest defender to ever grace the Premier League. He observed:

"In my opinion, Ferdinand has been the best defender in the history of the Premier League and, while his loss of pace means he is no longer a great player, he is still a very good one.

"Rio was was undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world, but the injuries that have stalked him in recent seasons have led to the situation where he now finds himself in real trouble if he progresses beyond the 18-yard line".

To be honest, I've never heard Hansen rave about a Liverpool defender in this manner, and in the Premier League era, Liverpool have had one defender who deserved such praise, and is - IMO - superior to Ferdinand, and that is Sami Hyypia.

Sami is the greatest defender I've seen in my lifetime, and he's criminally underrated for some reason. The Finn gave ten years of superb service to Liverpool, and was probably the club's most consistent player during that time.

Additionally, unlike Ferdinand, Hyypia - who left Liverpool at the age of 36 - never showed signs of decline at Anfield; he was playing at the top of his game right till the end, whereas Ferdinand - at 34 - is struggling, and (arguably) has been for the last couple of seasons.

Liverpool's 4-1 thrashing of United at Anfield in 2009 typified Hyypia's enduring quality. He was originally due to be on the bench, but a warm-up injury to Alvaro Arbeloa meant he came into the starting line up, and at the age of 36, he put in an absolutely outstanding performance, keeping Rooney and Ronaldo in his pocket for the entire game.

I doubt Ferdinand will be able to display that kind of quality when he is 36. of course, I'm biased (!), but for me, Hyypia is the greatest defender in the history of the Premier League.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. I would have to agree with you I think. I think Rio has been made to look better by Vidic, I would rate Vidic as better than Rio. Rio looked so out of his depth against Spurs on the weekend, and was agruably at fault for all the goals.

  2. How good would he have been without the drugs?. Since he was caught on the roids he has lost his pace and is a lot more injury prone. . . coincidence? i think not.

  3. Criminally underrated means the rest of the world don't agree with you. He was a very good defender. One season as world-class.

  4. * "IMO superior TO ferdinand"...

    now now JK one thing i love about your articles is the correct grammar and stuff. Don't lose that please!

    On the subject though... I agree with you... BUT, one has to look at titles and awards, and Man U IS the most successful club in the era of the EPL...

    So as much as it irks me and the rest of us, Ferdinand CAN be regarded as the greatest EPL defender, But I fully agree that Hypia is and always will be the superior specimen... it's just that the trophies don't reflect that...

    Sad but hard truth, bitter pill to swallow... BUT!!!! Revenge will be ours!

  5. Amazing!

    Hyypia was NEVER better than Ferdinand. I understand we have to do this 'he's a United player so lets talk him down' thing but be honest with yourself.

  6. Good spot. Fixed!

    I agree with you that in terms of trophies won, Ferdinand can be considered one of the greatest, but Sami will always be the greater player.

  7. And when exactly was he caught on steroids? If you're referring to his ban a few years ago well then you're wrong. That was for missing a drug test which he offer to show up to less than 20mins later and was refused the opportunity to do so.

  8. Typical Liverpool fan choosing to use an offensive term when mentioning Manchester United.

  9. Is your uneducated manc rage so blind that you just see what you want to see? I used no such offensive term manc skank...

  10. As a Lfc supporter, why the hell should I be interested in a Man U player ?

  11. Actually you did. Man U is an offensive term and if you were so educated maybe you would know this, but clearly you don't. For a long time it's been noted that it is used purely as an offensive term and go look it up if you don't believe me. And by the way as far as your uneducated remark I'm a lecturer in UCD so sorry you're way off with that remark.

  12. Sh*t!!! My bad guy! Apologies... forgive me, I am but a South African guy that hasn't been to Manchester before.

    I read my comment 3 times and couldn't find anything wrong with it till you pointed that out... and then google'd it.

    Buut I still think we going to get our revenge. So may the better team win next time ey ;)

  13. Man U defenders? IMO was way better.

  14. Jaap Stam was way better.

  15. No hard feelings my friend. It's nice to see some who can apologize when they see they are in the wrong. And as far as revenge we'll just see about that now won't we.

  16. I agree that Hyypia was one of the best ever defenders. He was very consistent and when his pace started to desert him, he adapted his game by positioning himself wiser.

    There is evidence to support that Hyypia was better than Rio as well. During Sami's time in defence, Liverpool collected more clean sheets than Man.UTD and Sami scored much more goals too! These facts show that while Sami was better at leading a superior defence-line, Sami was also MUCH more of a goal scoring threat.

    Along with Zanetti and Baresi, Hyypia is among the best ever defenders. They were (are in case of Zanetti) reliable until they nearly reached their 40's! Very very few players are able to adapt their style after their body undergoes physilogical changes, often are due to injury or ageing. I believe that such ability is what often separates the legends from the very good players or cult-heroes. (by this defenition, it would be just to call the following players legends of the game: Hyypia, Pele, Maradona, Del Piero, Zidane, T. Henry, Vieira, Scholes, Giggs, J.Zanetti, F. Totti.....)

  17. Oh, come on Hansen. Titus Bramble IS the definition of greatness.

    P.S. This is sarcasm, so don't get your panties in a bundle.

    In my opinion, I have to agree with Jaimie, Sami is the best defender I've ever seen (so far) play in the Premier League. Up the Fin! Sami the Wall!

  18. Hansen is a Man U/Ferguson fan,and cannot stop talking about them!