When asked his thoughts on Virgil van Dijk, Messi said, “[He is] one of the best in the world”. As most football fans probably know by now, Virgil van Dijk is the star centre-back for Liverpool and for the Dutch national football team. Standing at 6’4”, and currently valued at €100 million, he is widely considered one of the best defenders in the world and his strength and speed have been instrumental in him becoming captain of the Dutch team.
Making his professional debut on May 1, 2011, for FC Groningen, Van Dijk has made his way from Groningen to the Celtic Football Club in Glasgow, to Southampton F.C, and finally to Liverpool F.C. Over the course of his career, Van Dijk has already been an English Premier League runner-up, a UEFA Nations League runner-up, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the UEFA Player of the Year, a FIFA Club World Cup winner, a UEFA Supercup winner, and a UEFA Champions League winner (and these were only his accomplishments in the last 2 years). Suffice to say, Van Dijk has seen his fair share of awards and accolades, and for good reason given his talent and leadership abilities. After Van Dijk won UEFA’s Player of the Year Award, Jürgen Klopp said, “You could write a book about Virgil van Dijk’s strengths and abilities. He is still young, but he’s so mature”.
On detailing why Van Dijk won the 2018/19 UEFA Player of the Year Award, UEFA wrote, “Fearless since arriving from Southampton in January 2018, Van Dijk kept more clean sheets than any defender in Europe’s top five leagues in 2018/19. While Liverpool fell narrowly short in the Premier League, his solid presence (and occasional goalscoring efforts) provided the platform for a sixth European Cup”. There is no question that Van Dijk will continue this dominant form into the Euro 2020 and whatever tournaments await him, as can be seen in his critical role throughout Liverpool’s incredible 19/20 season. It is also no doubt that we can expect to see Van Dijk take his role as defender and captain for the Dutch national team in the upcoming Euro 2020 championship. Ronald Koeman, manager of the Dutch national team, has said, “[Van Dijk] embodies the full picture of a defender: his radiance, the way he captains the group, his presence on the pitch… He can be an example to anyone who wants to aspire to be the best”. Virgil van Dijk will definitely be a player to watch out for in the Euro 2020, and he will be crucial for Dutch success in the tournament.