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"In my opinion..." - Xavi names Liverpool star as one of the best players at the World Cup

Rory O'Callaghan

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"In my opinion..." - Xavi names Liverpool star as one of the best players at the World Cup

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate has been singled out for praise by Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi.

Konate received a surprise call-up to Didier Deschamps' World Cup squad for Qatar despite struggling for minutes this season with his Premier League side.

The 23-year-old, who joined Liverpool in a £36m move from RB Leipzig in 2021, started at centre-back for France in their 4-1 win over Australia in the Group D.

He dropped to the bench for their next match against Denmark but came on as a late substitute as the defending champions won 2-1 to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.

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Xavi impressed by Konate

In a quick-fire Q and A session on the official World Cup Twitter account, Xavi singled out Konate for special praise – describing his partnership with Dayot Upamecano as the best central defensive pairing in round one.

"Now, in my opinion, I would say Konate and Upamecano," said Xavi, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010.

The former Barcelona captain went on to name a number of other picks for the opening round of the tournament, including Spain's Pedri and Germany's Jamal Musiala as the most skilful players.

He also named Belgium's Thibaut Courtois as the best goalkeeper and Barcelona duo Pedri and Gavi as the two players he would most like to play with.

Konate started for France in their opening game of the World Cup (Image: Alamy)
Konate started for France in their opening game of the World Cup (Image: Alamy)

Xavi backs Messi to win World Cup

When asked which team he would like to win the tournament if Spain were unable to, Xavi backed one of his former Barcelona teammates.

"Leo [Messi] with Argentina, that is my friend,” said Xavi.

Konate, meanwhile, will hope to regain his spot in France's starting line-up when they face Tunisia in their final group match on Wednesday.

The two-time world champions just need a point to guarantee top spot in the group.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Ibrahima Konate, Xavi, Barcelona, France, Football World Cup, Liverpool

Rory O'Callaghan
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