Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van DijkÂ (Dutch pronunciation:Â [vÉ‘n ËˆdÉ›ik]; born 8 July 1991) is a Dutch professionalÂ footballerÂ who plays as aÂ centre-backÂ for EnglishÂ Premier LeagueÂ clubÂ LiverpoolÂ andÂ captainsÂ theÂ Netherlands national team. Considered to be one of the best defenders in the world, he is known for his strength, leadership and aerial ability.Â In 2019 he was named theÂ UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and finished runner-up for theÂ Ballon d’OrÂ andÂ The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
After beginning his professional career withÂ Groningen, Van Dijk moved toÂ CelticÂ in 2013, where he won theÂ Scottish PremiershipÂ and was named in theÂ PFA Scotland Team of the YearÂ in both of his seasons with the club, also winning theÂ Scottish League CupÂ in the latter. In September 2015, he joined Premier League sideÂ SouthamptonÂ before signing for Liverpool in January 2018 for Â£75Â million, aÂ world record transfer feeÂ for a defender at the time.Â Van Dijk was involved in reaching theÂ 2018 UEFA Champions League FinalÂ during his first spring at Liverpool. In his first full season at the club Van Dijk was named theÂ PFA Player of the YearÂ and theÂ Premier League Player of the SeasonÂ for the 2018â€“19 season.Â Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won theÂ 2019 UEFA Champions League FinalÂ where he was named man of the match.Â The following season he played in the clubâ€™s victoriousÂ 2019 FIFA Club World Cup Final.
Van Dijk made his international debut for the Netherlands in 2015 and became captain of his country in 2018. In 2018, he scored his first international goal in a 3â€“0 win over European championsÂ Portugal. He later captained them to the inauguralÂ 2019 UEFA Nations League FinalÂ where they finished runners-up.
Virgil van Dijk
Early life and career
Van Dijk was born inÂ BredaÂ to aÂ DutchÂ father and aÂ SurinameseÂ mother.Â Growing up he would play football wherever he could â€“ on the streets, in concrete cages, and eventually Saturday morning matches.Â He combined his time playing at theÂ Willem IIÂ academy with a part-time job as a dishwasher.Â Having previously and unsuccessfully featured as a right-back, Van Dijk was shifted into a central defensive position in 2008, aged 17, after he grew in height by around 18 centimetres.Â Despite the positional shift and Van Dijk’s physical growth, Willem II’s reserve manager at the timeÂ Edwin HermansÂ believed he had “too many limitations” which prevented him from breaking into the first team.Â In 2010, he was scouted by former Dutch internationalÂ Martin Koeman, who was working forÂ FC GroningenÂ at the time, and he ended up completing a free transfer to the club in the same year.
Van Dijk initially struggled to break into Groningen’s first team with club staff believing he was “overtired” after extensive playing time with Willem II’s academy and reserve sides.Â He made his professional debut for the club on 1 May 2011, coming on as a 72nd-minuteÂ substituteÂ forÂ Petter AnderssonÂ during a 4â€“2 victory againstÂ ADO Den Haag.Â On 29 May, and against the same opposition, he made his first start for Groningen and scored his first professional goals, netting twice in a 5â€“1 win in aÂ UEFA Europa LeagueÂ play-off match.
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During theÂ 2011â€“12 EredivisieÂ season, Van Dijk made 23 league appearances for theÂ EredivisieÂ team, and scored his first regular-season goal during the club’s 6â€“0 victory overÂ FeyenoordÂ on 30 October 2011.Â He suffered a personal setback during the campaign, however, as soon after his 20th birthday he was admitted to hospital withÂ peritonitisÂ and kidney poisoning. Van Dijk later revealed that he had been close to dying as a result of the medical emergency and that the hospital had even gone so far as to ask him to sign a “sort ofÂ will” in the event of his passing.
He did, however, return to Groningen and continued to impress the following season. At the end of the campaign, and with Van Dijk having “outgrown” the club, he was offered to a number of bigger Eredivisie clubs, includingÂ Ajax, all of whom elected not to sign him.Â Instead, in June 2013, he joined Scottish sideÂ Celtic.
Virgil van Dijk
On 21 June 2013, Van Dijk signed withÂ CelticÂ for a fee of around Â£2.6Â million, on a four-year deal including a 10% selling-on fee for Groningen.Â He made his debut on 17 August, replacingÂ Efe AmbroseÂ for the final 13 minutes of a 2â€“0Â Scottish PremiershipÂ win overÂ AberdeenÂ atÂ Pittodrie Stadium.Â A week later, he made his first start, in a 2â€“2 draw withÂ Inverness Caledonian ThistleÂ atÂ Celtic Park.Â On 9 November, Van Dijk scored his first Celtic goals, heading one in each half of a 4â€“1 win againstÂ Ross County.Â After a solo run, he scored the only goal of a victory overÂ St JohnstoneÂ on 26 December.
Van Dijk scored again on 26 January 2014, in a 4â€“0 win versusÂ HibernianÂ for Celtic’s 11th consecutive league win.Â On 25 February, he was sent off after 13 minutes of an eventual 2â€“1 loss at Aberdeen, for a professional foul onÂ Peter Pawlett; it was Celtic’s first defeat of the season.Â With Celtic having already won the league, Van Dijk netted again on 7 May to put his team 3â€“1 up away to St Johnstone, in an eventual 3â€“3 draw.Â He was one of three Celtic players named in theÂ PFA Scotland Team of the Year.Â Van Dijk was nominated for theÂ PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the YearÂ award,Â but lost out to fellow Celtic playerÂ Kris Commons
On 22 July 2014, Van Dijk andÂ Teemu PukkiÂ each scored twice in a 4â€“0 home win overÂ KRÂ in aÂ UEFA Champions LeagueÂ qualifier, putting their team into the next round 5â€“0 on aggregate.Â His first goal of theÂ Premiership seasonÂ came on 9 November, finishing fromÂ Stefan Johansen‘s last-minute corner for a 2â€“1 win at Aberdeen.Â Three weeks later, Van Dijk scored the first and last goals of Celtic’s 4â€“0 win versusÂ Heart of MidlothianÂ in the fourth round of theÂ Scottish Cup.Â Four days after that, his sixth goal of the season was enough for victory in a home match againstÂ GlasgowÂ neighboursÂ Partick Thistle.
Van Dijk was again on target on 21 January 2015, opening a 4â€“0 home win overÂ Motherwell.Â On 26 February, he was sent off in the 36th minute againstÂ Inter MilanÂ for a foul onÂ Mauro Icardi, as Celtic lost 1â€“0 on the night, 4â€“3 on aggregate in the last 32 of theÂ UEFA Europa League.Â He was again sent off on 8 March in the Cup quarter-final away toÂ Dundee UnitedÂ atÂ Tannadice Park, receiving a red card after eleven minutes for a confrontation withÂ Calum Butcher.Â His suspension for the following week’sÂ Scottish League Cup FinalÂ was overturned on appeal, as was that ofÂ Paul Paton, who was sent off when mistaken for Butcher.Â Van Dijk played the full 90 minutes of the final atÂ Hampden Park, which Celtic won 2â€“0.Â On 18 March, Celtic’s third consecutive match against Dundee United, Van Dijk scored in the last minute to confirm a 4â€“0 win in a Cup replay.
On 19 April, Celtic contested the Cup semi-final against Inverness at Hampden, and Van Dijk opened the scoring with a free kick. After the dismissal of goalkeeperÂ Craig Gordon, Celtic fell 3â€“2, ending their chance of aÂ treble.Â Three days later, again from a free kick, he confirmed a 2â€“1 win away toÂ Dundee.Â His team again won the league, and Van Dijk was included in the league’s Team of the Season for the second consecutive campaign.Â He was again shortlisted for the PFA Scotland Players’ Player award,Â but lost out to another teammate, this timeÂ Stefan Johansen.
He made his debut for Southampton on 12 September in a 0â€“0 draw againstÂ West Bromwich AlbionÂ atÂ The Hawthorns.Â Two weeks later, Van Dijk marked his third Premier League appearance with his first goal for the club, which came in the form of a header in the 11th minute to put Southampton in front, following a set-piece fromÂ James Ward-ProwseÂ in a 3â€“1 home win overÂ Swansea City.Â On 7 May 2016, Van Dijk signed a new six-year contract with the Saints.
On 22 January 2017, he was named team captain of Southampton, after the departure ofÂ JosÃ© Fonte.Â On the same day, he suffered an ankle injury againstÂ Leicester City.Â This ruled him out of theÂ 2017 EFL Cup Final, which Southampton lost toÂ Manchester UnitedÂ atÂ Wembley Stadium.
After a successfulÂ 2016â€“17 seasonÂ at Southampton, Van Dijk was subject to interest fromÂ Liverpool, who apologised to Southampton for an illegal approach for the player after having reportedly made clear his interest in a move to Liverpool.Â On 7 August 2017, Van Dijk handed in a transfer request to Southampton and released a statement along with it, emphasising his wish to join a different club in the transfer window.
Van Dijk remained with Southampton for the start of theÂ 2017â€“18 seasonÂ and made his first appearance since being injured in January, coming on as a late substitute in a 1â€“0 victory atÂ Crystal PalaceÂ on 26 September.Â He made what turned out to be his final appearance for Southampton on 13 December 2017, in a 4â€“1 home defeat to Leicester.Â It was also his last appearance in any of Southampton’s matchday squads, as he was omitted from the squad for the rest of his tenure at the club in light of speculation surrounding his future.
On 27 December 2017, it was announced that Van Dijk would join Liverpool when the winter transfer window opened on 1 January 2018Â for a reported fee of Â£75Â million.Â Former club Celtic would receive 10% of Van Dijk’s transfer fee, due to a sell-on clause placed in his Southampton contract.Â Southampton claimed the undisclosed transfer fee would constitute a world record fee in football for a defender.
He made his debut for Liverpool on 5 January in the third round of theÂ FA CupÂ and scored the winning goal with a late header in a 2â€“1 victory against local rivalsÂ Everton.Â In doing so, he became the first player sinceÂ Bill WhiteÂ in 1901 to score on his debut in theÂ Merseyside derby.Â Van Dijk andÂ Dejan LovrenÂ built a strong partnership at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, with the Dutchman being credited for improving Liverpool’s previous defensive issues.
Van Dijk was included in theÂ UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season, despite playing just half of the season in theÂ Champions League, with theÂ UEFA Technical ObserversÂ saying: “Van Dijk arrived atÂ AnfieldÂ and provided composure and stability in theÂ competition’s knockout stages.” Van Dijk played the full 90 minutes in theÂ 2018 UEFA Champions League FinalÂ againstÂ Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1â€“3.Â Van Dijk played 22 games in all competitions in his first season with the club, scoring 1 goal.
On 20 August 2018, Van Dijk was votedÂ Man of the MatchÂ byÂ BBC SportÂ andÂ Sky SportsÂ for his performance in a 2â€“0 win overÂ Crystal Palace.Â Van Dijk received theÂ Liverpool Standard Chartered Player of the MonthÂ award for his performances in August.Â On 2 December, Van Dijk was awarded an assist for the winning goal in aÂ derbyÂ match against city rivals Everton. Liverpool won 1â€“0 thanks to Divock Origi’s 96th-minute goal, set up by a Van Dijk volley and a subsequent error from Everton goalkeeperÂ Jordan Pickford.Â The Dutchman was ultimately awarded theÂ PFAÂ Player of the Month for November 2018.Â On 21 December, Van Dijk scored his first goal in the Premier League for Liverpool in a 2â€“0 away win againstÂ Wolverhampton Wanderers.Â The Dutchman continued his impressive form in the 2018â€“19 season by winning the Premier League Player of the Month prize for December 2018.
On 27 February 2019, Van Dijk scored twice in a 5â€“0 win againstÂ Watford.Â The following month, he scored once – his first goal in the Champions League for the club – and assisted another in a 3â€“1 win overÂ Bayern Munich. In doing so, he became the first player sinceÂ Craig BellamyÂ in 2007 to score and assist a goal for Liverpool in a knock-out stage match away from home in the competition.
Virgil van Dijk
On 20 April, he was one of six players nominated for theÂ PFA Players’ Player of the YearÂ award alongside teammateÂ Sadio ManÃ©.Â Four days later, he was named in theÂ PFA Team of the YearÂ alongside Liverpool teammates,Â Trent Alexander-Arnold, ManÃ© andÂ Andrew Robertson.Â On 28 April 2019, he was named theÂ PFA Player of the Year.Â Following Liverpool’s 2â€“0 victory overÂ TottenhamÂ in theÂ 2019 UEFA Champions League FinalÂ on 1 June, Van Dijk was namedÂ UEFA‘sÂ Man of the match.
Virgil van Dijk
In August 2019, Van Dijk won UEFA player of the year award. On 2 September 2019, he was shortlisted in the final three of the best FIFA football awards.Â On 23 September 2019, he was voted runner up inÂ The Best FIFA Men’s PlayerÂ and into the FIFAÂ FIFpro Men’s World 11.Â In October 2019, Van Dijk was shortlisted as one in 30 football players for theÂ Ballon d’Or.Â At the event in December, he finished runner-up behindÂ Lionel Messi.Â On 21 December 2019, after missing the semi-final of theÂ 2019 FIFA Club World CupÂ with illness, Van Dijk played in theÂ finalÂ againstÂ FlamengoÂ with Liverpool winning the trophy for the first time in the clubâ€™s history.
Van Dijk received further recognition following the turn of the year, when he was named in the 2019Â UEFA Team of the Year.Â On 19 January 2020, Van Dijk scored his firstÂ North-West DerbyÂ goal againstÂ Manchester UnitedÂ in Liverpoolâ€™s 2â€“0 win at Anfield in the Premier League.
Virgil van Dijk
He was awarded theÂ captaincyÂ of his country by managerÂ Ronald KoemanÂ on 22 March 2018,Â and his first match as captain was a 1â€“0 home friendly defeat byÂ EnglandÂ the next day.Â On 26 March, he scored his first international goal to conclude a 3â€“0 win over European championsÂ PortugalÂ at theÂ Stade de GenÃ¨ve.Â On 13 October, he scored in a 3â€“0 win overÂ 2014 World CupÂ championsÂ GermanyÂ in theÂ UEFA Nations League.
Style of play
Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is a physically strong, right-footedÂ centre-back, who usually features on the left-hand side of central defence, although he can also play as a right-sided centre-back.Â He is gifted with pace,Â good technique, and an eye for goal, and is an effectiveÂ set-piece taker. Regarding his ability, former Celtic teammateÂ Kris CommonsÂ commented that Van Dijk was “comfortable on the ball”, also noting that “He had good technique and a wonderful right foot. He was good on set-pieces, some of the free-kicks he scored for Celtic are absolute wonders. He could read the game well. He had an aura about him, a confidence, because I think he knew he was good.”
Neil McGuinness, senior scout at Celtic when Van Dijk was signed, called him “everything you would want if you could create a profile of the ideal central defender”, praising him as a “very smooth ball-playing defender” who possesses aerial prowess, skills from dead ball situations, and “strong leadership qualities”, while commenting that since his move to England, he is “more tactically aware now […] his anticipation and timing has improved and he is a lot more of an all-rounder”.Â McGuinness believes Van Dijk’s “biggest problem” is that he “can switch off when the game is comfortable”.
Virgil van Dijk
In a 2019 interview withÂ Marca, whenÂ Lionel MessiÂ was asked why Van Dijk was so difficult to beat, the Argentine responded: “He is a defender who knows how to judge his timing and wait for the right moment to challenge or jockey [the attacker]. He is very fast and big, but he has a lot of agility for his height. He is fast because of its [sic] great stride, and he is impressive both in defence and attack because he scores lots of goals.
Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk commonly uses only his first name on the kit. According to his uncle Steven, this is because of a feud with his father.
- As of match played 18 February 2020
|Club||Season||League||National Cup[a]||League Cup[b]||Europe||Other||Total|
- IncludesÂ KNVB Cup,Â Scottish Cup,Â FA Cup Â
- IncludesÂ Scottish League Cup,Â League Cup/EFL Cup Â
- Virgil van Dijk
- Appearances inÂ UEFA Champions League Â
- Six appearances in UEFA Champions League; eight appearances inÂ UEFA Europa League Â
- Appearances in UEFA Europa League Â
- One appearance inÂ FA Community Shield, one appearance inÂ UEFA Super Cup, one appearance inÂ FIFA Club World Cup Â
- As of match played 16 November 2019
- As of match played on 9 September 2019. Netherlands score listed first, score column indicates score after each Van Dijk goal.
|1||26 March 2018||Stade de GenÃ¨ve, Geneva, Switzerland||18||Â Portugal||3â€“0||3â€“0||Friendly|
|2||13 October 2018||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||22||Â Germany||1â€“0||3â€“0||2018â€“19 UEFA Nations League A|
|3||19 November 2018||Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen, Germany||24||2â€“2||2â€“2|
|4||21 March 2019||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||25||Â Belarus||4â€“0||4â€“0||UEFA Euro 2020 qualification|
- UEFA Champions League:Â 2018â€“19;Â runner-up:Â 2017â€“18
- UEFA Super Cup:Â 2019
- FIFA Club World Cup:Â 2019
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year:Â 2018â€“19
- PFA Team of the Year:Â 2018â€“19 Premier League
- PFA Player of the Month: November 2018
- Premier League Player of the Season:Â 2018â€“19
- Premier League Player of the Month:Â December 2018
- UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award: 2018â€“19
- UEFA Defender of the Season:Â 2018â€“19
- UEFA Team of the Year:Â 2018,Â 2019
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season:Â 2017â€“18,Â 2018â€“19
- UEFA Nations League Finals Team of the Tournament:Â 2019
- The Best FIFA Men’s Player:Â 2019Â (2nd place)
- Liverpool Fans Player of the Season Award:Â 2018â€“19
- Liverpool Players’ Player of the Season Award: 2018â€“19
- Southampton Player of the Season:Â 2015â€“16
- PFA Scotland Team of the Year:Â 2013â€“14,Â 2014â€“15
- Celtic FC Players’ Player of the Year:Â 2013â€“14
- Goal 50: 2018â€“19
- FIFA FIFPro World11:Â 2019
- IFFHS Men’s World Team: 2019
- Football Supporters’ FederationÂ Player of the Year:Â 2019
- Ballon d’Or:Â 2019Â (2nd place)