Cafu Backs This Liverpool Defender To Win Ballon d’Or In The Future: Does He Deserve Such High Praise?

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City at Anfield on August 09, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mirror, Brazilian legend Cafu labelled Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold as one of the best players in world football when he said, “I think ­Alexander-Arnold is one of the best in the world, no doubt about it.

“He’s a great player – and I would say he has the same characteristics as I did.

“He has got big potential. He is strong and skilful, he really takes the game ­forward and he’s a player who sets up goals for­ Liverpool.

“So, yes, I can see lots of similarities between him and me when I was playing.

“I would say he’s got a Brazilian instinct in the way he plays.

“My advice for him is ­simple: just keep doing what you have been doing for the last few years.

“Alexander-Arnold shouldn’t change his way of playing. Even if he makes mistakes, he should carry on doing what he’s doing.

“I think he has what it takes to become a Ballon d’Or winner.

“We have to change this ­paradigm where the Ballon d’Or is only won by ­attackers and strikers.

“People have to see that defenders are just as ­important as attackers.”

Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on February 1, 2020. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Cafu has heaped high praise on the English defender by tipping him to win a Ballon d’Or in the future. The Reds right-back was once again responsible for orchestrating a lot of decent goal-scoring opportunities for his side in the 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday. He was unlucky not to earn an assist in that game as he was let down by some woeful finishing from the Liverpool frontline.

Alexander-Arnold Is Becoming A Serial Winner At Liverpool

Alexander-Arnold won three prestigious trophies with his boyhood club last year and is in pole position to secure a Premier League winner’s medal this season. His creativity from the right-back position has often been the difference when his team are pushing for a goal in a tightly-contested match.

Perhaps, the highlight of the 21-year-old’s career was when his quickly taken corner resulted in Divock Origi scoring the deciding goal of the tie versus Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League last season as Liverpool came from three goals down to win 4-3 in aggregate. It was an incredible night for everyone associated with the Merseyside club, and Alexander-Arnold’s match-winning display will live long in the memories of the Liverpool fans.

What Does The England International Add To Klopp’s Side?

The Liverpool-born talent has continued to maintain a high standard with his performances during this campaign. He is currently one of the designated set-piece specialists in Jurgen Klopp’s squad due to his ability to regularly whip in dangerous crosses into the opposition penalty box. Alexander-Arnold can also strike the ball with a lot of power when attempting shots from a distance. He has established himself as one of the most dangerous players in Klopp’s first-team as he has found a multitude of ways to break the opposition down.

Alexander-Arnold has scored two goals and provided 12 assists in 35 matches for the European champions this term in all competitions. He has also been a solid defender for the Merseyside giants in recent weeks as evidenced by his average of 1.5 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.2 clearances per game in the Premier League this season (stats via whoscored).

Does Alexander-Arnold Deserve Such High Praise From Cafu?

There is an argument to be made whether Klopp should push Alexander-Arnold to an advanced position in midfield so that he can unlock his true attacking potential. However, at the moment, the Liverpool fans will be quite happy with their beloved Scouser’s performances as the first-choice right-back. If the Reds go on to win the Premier League and do well in the UEFA Champions League this year, then Alexander-Arnold will undeniably end up in the discussion for France Football’s most prestigious award.

Even if he doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or this year, Alexander-Arnold still has his whole career ahead of him and will probably end up being considered for the honour someday, especially if he can continue to improve his game with each season. For now, it feels like the English full-back deserves all the praise he has received from Cafu, but he still has a long way to go.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.