Rio Ferdinand has named Chelsea FC star Cesar Azpilicueta as the Premier League’s best defender.
The Spain international lined up against La Liga giants Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Wednesday night.
Azpilicueta was unable to intercept a loose pass from Andreas Christensen that found its way to Andres Iniesta before the playmaker teed up Lionel Messi.
The Argentina international’s first goal against Chelsea FC in nine attempts cancelled out Willian’s opening goal in the European clash at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old started his Chelsea FC career at right-back before he replaced Ashley Cole on the left side of the defence.
Current Chelsea FC boss Conte switched Azpilicueta to the centre-half as part of a three-man defence.
Former Manchester United centre-half Ferdinand described Azpilicueta as the best natural defender in the Premier League.
“I put him down as probably the best out and out defender in the Premier League,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“What I like about him is that he’s aggressive but he’s also come into that role of being a leader in this team in the way he performs and applies himself.”
Chelsea FC will make the trip to Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday evening looking to kick-start their top-four challenge.
The Blues can move level on points with the Red Devils if Chelsea FC manage to secure three points at Old Trafford.
Conte’s side will take on Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday 14 March.