Schalke: Salif Sane one of the best in the world, unsurprisingly

Schalke 04’s defense has been the talk of the team even without Salif Sane who, unsurprisingly, is one of the best in the world.

No matter who you throw back there, Schalke 04’s defense has been incredible this year. Even with the two dreadful 5-0 losses, fans really haven’t had their faith in this defense shaken. But it still must be kept in mind that we have been missing our starting two centerbacks—Benjamin Stambouli and Salif Sane—all year.

In their stead, Ozan Kabak and Matija Nastasic had relatively no drop-off, and, in the process of “filling in,” both proved that they could be starting on a regular basis and still service the club in the same way as their predecessors.

But it’s important not to forget the likes of Stambouli and Sane, particularly the latter because well, he’s one of the best centerbacks in the world. Which isn’t that surprising.

Salif Sane another genius addition by Schalke 04

Schalke has always had a knack for turning up gold in unlikely places, and it doesn’t always have to be youth products. I will always point to Naldo as one of the greatest under-the-radar signings of all time.

Naldo came to the Veltins and became literally one of the best centerbacks on the face of the planet. He was a goal machine in addition to his regular dominance and his advancing age never proved to be an issue.

Just a really, really astute signing, as always.

Salif Sane is just another. While Die Knappen did spend a good deal of money on him, as far as their budget is concerned, they have gotten more than their money’s worth already because, surprise surprise, he is one of the best defenders in the world. At least in one particular category.

According to a recent statistical dive by Sportskeeda, Salif Sane is the best aerial defender in the world. He wins 87% of his aerial duels, which is just incredible. I don’t know how anyone could do any better. Which is why they aren’t.

Even outside of his aerial dominance, Sane has proven to be invaluable to Schalke’s efforts, or at least he was before he got hurt for the year. Now, all I can think about is what this defense would look like with him back.

Hopefully, we don’t have to actively worry about losing him after just one year, because once he gets back, this defense is going to blossom even more than it already has.