Ten things you didn’t know about Virgil van Dijk
Ten things you didn’t know about Virgil Van Dijk? Ten things you didn’t know about Virgil Van Dijk? What are the Ten things you didn’t know about Virgil Van Dijk? Virgil van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the world without a shadow of a doubt. Van Dijk signed his first professional contract for Dutch club Groningen in 2011. After a decent stint at Groningen, van Dijk joined the Scottish club Celtic.
The Dutchman had a pretty successful spell at Glasgow where he scored 15 goals and provided 7 assists in 115 appearances. During both, his seasons at Celtic, Van Dijk was in the Team of the Year.
Van Dijk’s performances for Celtic attracted interest from Southampton and he joined the club in the summer of 2015. In his very first season, van Dijk was named Southampton Player of the Season. Following the departure of Jose Fonte to West Ham in 2017, van Dijk was named the captain of the club.
Ten things you didn’t know about Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk established himself as a top-quality defender at Southampton and this attracted interest from many top clubs. Van Dijk eventually joined Liverpool in January, 2018 on a transfer fee of £75 million. This fee made van Dijk the most expensive defender in the world, bettering the fee of £52 million Manchester City paid Monaco to sign Benjamin Mendy.
So far, the Dutchman has made 57 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 4 goals and providing two assists. Van Dijk’s performances for Liverpool have been terrific and he has become a talismanic figure at the club. Van Dijk’s superb marshalling of Liverpool’s defence is the reason why Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than any other club in the Premier League this season.
Virgil van Dijk has also made 24 appearances for the Netherlands, scoring three goals. He is currently the captain of the national team.
Now, we at Silly Season will reveal ten things you didn’t know about Virgil van Dijk.
10. Sevilla wanted to sign him: Ten things you did not know about Virgil van Dijk
Celtic was the first club where van Dijk gained prominence. His fine performances for the Glasgow attracted the attention of La Liga side Sevilla in 2014. As a matter of fact, Sevilla’s Sporting Director Monchi was eager to bring him to the club. However, they couldn’t sign him, and instead, van Dijk signed for Southampton the following year.
9. He helped create a defensive record at Celtic
As we mentioned earlier, Celtic was the club where van Dijk first gained prominence. He made his breakthrough at the club and produced fine performances for them at the heart of the defence. His presence in central defence was a key reason why Celtic went 1215 minutes without conceding a single goal. This remains a club record.
8. He is the captain of the Netherlands national team
Virgil van Dijk made his debut for the Netherlands national football team in 2015 in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan. He soon became a regular for the national team. Following the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, KNVB sacked Danny Blind as the Netherlands. After interim spells from Fred Grim and Dick Advocaat, former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman became the new Netherlands manager in February last year.
Koeman who brought van Dijk to Southampton from Celtic made him the captain of the national team. Van Dijk has very charismatically led the Netherlands so far and has been instrumental in their recent resurgence in the UEFA Nations League.
7. Frequent presence in the Scottish Team of the Year
After impressing at Groningen, Virgil van Dijk signed for Celtic in 2013. During both of his seasons at Celtic, van Dijk was always in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year. During his spell at Celtic, van Dijk made 115 appearances for Celtic, scoring 15 goals and providing 7 assists.
6. He has scored more goals than several of the world’s best forwards in the Nations League
When the UEFA Nations League Groups were announced, everyone expected the Netherlands to finish last in their group. However, they produced one of the surprises of the competition by topping their group ahead of world champions France and thus, qualifying for the semi-finals.
Van Dijk has been instrumental in Netherlands’ recent resurgence not only in defence but also in attack. He is their joint top scorer of the competition with 2 goals. He has scored more goals in the Nations League than many of the world’s best forwards. The likes of Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner have each scored one goal in the Nations League.
5. Scored a goal Messi would have been proud of
Given his position and physique, one would generally expect most of Virgil van Dijk’s goals to be headers. However, he did score a goal similar to those scored by Maradona against England at the 1986 World Cup and by Messi against Getafe.
On Boxing Day 2013, Celtic were up against St. Johnstone. After only 5 minutes, van Dijk dribbled past 6 St. Johnstone defenders before scoring past St. Johnstone goalkeeper.
4. He was a dishwasher before becoming a footballer
Virgil van Dijk himself stated that before becoming a footballer, he used to do the modest job of a dishwasher in his birthplace, Breda, when he was in his mid-teens.
3. Van Dijk’s unhealthy lifestyle almost killed him
Right now, the Liverpool defender might be reaching new heights with the Reds, but it wasn’t always like this. Back in 2011, van Dijk lead one of the unhealthiest lifestyles ever – and one that nearly killed him. He was admitted with a serious bacterial infection, which could turn fatal. The infection arose as a result of his lifestyle. His appendix burst after it was affected due to his bad eating habits. But thankfully, he survived and vowed to a healthier lifestyle after that.
2. He was in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season
Despite playing only half of the 2017-18 Champions League, Virgil van Dijk made the cut for the Champions League Team of the Season. He formed a formidable partnership in central defence with Dejan Lovren during the knockout stages as Liverpool reached the final, only to lose to Real Madrid. The Dutchman was among the 6 defenders in the Champions League Team of the Season. The other five defenders were Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Joshua Kimmich and Giorgio Chiellini.
1. He is of Surinamese ancestry
Van Dijk has Suriname ancestry as his mother is from Suriname. He is one of the many Dutch footballers who are from Surinamese ancestry. The other Dutch footballers of Surinamese descent include Frank Rijkaard, Clarence, Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert. Talk about good company.