Chelsea forward Pedro has compared Virgil van Dijk to Spain team-mate Sergio Ramos ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup meeting with Liverpool.
Frank Lampard’s side, winners of the Europa League under Maurizio Sarri last season, take on Champions League holders Liverpool in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Van Dijk played a pivotal role as the Reds became champions of Europe for the sixth time and finished second in the Premier League with 97 points.
The centre-back was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year for his performances in the top flight and Pedro sees similarities between the Netherlands star and Real Madrid captain Ramos.
“They are very good central defenders, probably at this time at the top,” he said.
“Sergio Ramos is very good. I know him very well: great defender, great with the ball.
“Van Dijk is also the same: so strong, very good in the air, scores goals. Two big players.
“He’s in a good moment. Last season with Liverpool, he had a great season winning the Champions League and the best player in the premier league. He’s in a good moment and he’s a good defender.”
Pedro hopes to get the better of Van Dijk and Liverpool to secure a win what would represent his fourth UEFA Super Cup triumph, having lifted the trophy three times while playing for Barcelona.
The 32-year-old thinks silverware this early in the season can only be good for Chelsea’s confidence, especially in light of their 4-0 league defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
“It’s another trophy, it’s good when you start the season winning a trophy – it’s good for confidence, for the future,” he said.
“Liverpool are a strong team with great players, a solid team, good on the counter. We need to read the game well, stay compact all the time and when we create chances we need to score if we want to win.
“It’s my fourth Super Cup final. I was lucky enough to win the last three. I have good memories of the last final [in 2015]. The important thing is the mentality: to stay strong, stay compact.”