Any discussion about the best defenders in the world includes the name of Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.
But when his name gets compared to the likes of Italy's Fabio Cannavaro or Paulo Maldini, it immediately draws chuckles or he is made fun of.
So the question arises naturally, are the defenders at present not good enough, and is the art of defending a dying art in football?
The game has changed
There is no doubt that football has changed quite a bit from the times of Maldini and Cannavaro and that has meant that defenders have to do a lot of the attacking work as well.
Defenders are now almost expected to be top passers and the game has shifted to becoming more attack-oriented.
The attack of most modern-day successful sides comes from the defense and usually from the goalkeeper.
Everyone likes to play 'out from the back' and counter-press to the opponent's pressing.
A lot of this can be found in the playing styles of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City teams.
Their success in recent times has led to other teams taking on their style and trying to replicate that to some degree of success.
The record-number of assists that Liverpool's fullbacks - Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson get are just an example of how much the defense helps out in attacks and is a growing trend in the game.
The Messi-Ronaldo Ballon d'Or dominance
Let's face it, if Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo didn't score heaps of goals every season, they wouldn't have dominated the best player awards.
As I previously explained about individual awards in football and how they're not a true reflection of a player's calibre, this has not boded well for defenders.
The work that they have done has come under less of the limelight and their stock has therefore fallen.
That is not to take away from the greatness of the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry but many would argue that Van Dijk deserved the Ballon d'Or last season for Liverpool's win in the Champions League and their league run where they only lost one game.
The weight of Messi's goals and assists for Barcelona were viewed as more valuable to their La Liga run and thus the award went in his favour.
And as long as Messi and Ronaldo keep playing, scoring and winning titles, seeing anyone else break that duopoly (other than that one time Luka Modric did), seems very unlikely.
Cannavaro was the last defender to win the Ballon d'Or and that happened before the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry began to put things into perspective.
Not a fair comparison yet
Some of the players mentioned like Maldini and Cannavaro have already finished their careers and the likes of Van Dijk hasn't.
There is always a tendency to glorify the past, especially in sports by romantics of it.
As previously mentioned, the game has changed and evolved and it is a lot more regimented and organised that it used to be.
Fitness levels of players are at an all time high and even a small drop in performance can prove costly, as sports science in football has taken over.
The defenders like Van Dijk, Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli and Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus could come into the conversation of great defenders once their careers are over.
We also have to keep in mind that defences are very much a unit and their performances rely on how well they do as a unit.
It can be argued that defensive midfielders like Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira are no longer in the game and with players like Sergio Busquets in the game, the role of that position has also become a more attacking one.
So overall it's not that the world of football isn't producing great defenders, but all these factors considered, they have been the most neglected and underappreciated breed in the sport.
Perhaps when the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly is over, we can appreciate them a bit more.