Virgil van Dijk Profile
|Name||Virgil van Dijk|
|Born||Jul 08, 1991|
Since moving to Liverpool for £75million, Virgil van Dijk has had a huge impact at the club, helping them win their first league title in 30 years and a sixth European Cup.
Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch soccer player who currently plays for Liverpool and is the captain of the Netherlands national side. Widely renowned for being one of the world's best defenders in today's game, Van Dijk is the only defender to have won the prestigious UEFA Men's Player of the Year award. He also came runner-up in both the Ballon d'Or and Best FIFA Men's Player award in 2019.
Starting his professional career at Groningen, Van Dijk made the switch to Scottish giants Celtic in 2013, where he won consecutive Scottish Premiership titles and the Scottish League Cup in his final season at the club. In 2015, he joined Southampton before making the move to Liverpool in January 2018 for £75million - a world-record transfer fee for a defender at the time. Recognised for his ball-playing skills, strength and leadership qualities, Van Dijk featured in both the 2018 and 2019 UEFA Champions League final, winning the latter. In his first full season at Liverpool, Van Dijk was crowned both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season. After securing the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2019, he helped Liverpool end their 30-year title wait, winning the 2019/20 Premier League.
After making his international debut in 2015, Van Dijk was given the captaincy in 2018 and a year later led the Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League final, where they finished runners-up.
Becoming a key part of Liverpool
After two seasons at Southampton, Van Dijk sealed a controversial move to Liverpool in January 2018 for £75million. Originally, the Dutchman was supposed to have joined Liverpool in the summer of 2017 for £60million but the Reds had to issue an apology to Southampton after making an illegal approach. The transfer fee for Van Dijk was the world-record transfer fee for a defender, before Harry Maguire's £78million move from Leicester City to Manchester United in 2019 broke it.
Van Dijk's debut goal against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup saw him become the first player since Bill White in 1901 to score on his debut in the Merseyside Derby. Van Dijk was included in the 2017/18 Champions League Team of the Season, despite Liverpool losing to Real Madrid in the final. Van Dijk would taste Champions League success just a year later, however, when Liverpool triumphed in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the final. Not only was he named UEFA's Man of the Match for the game, he was included in the PFA Team of the Year for the Premier League campaign that season.
Regarded as one of Jurgen Klopp's best signings, Van Dijk was the only player who featured in every single minute of Liverpool's 2019/20 Premier League campaign, which saw them end their 30-year drought for a league crown. Not only did Van Dijk heavily contribute to Liverpool's 15 clean sheets, he also notched five league goals, with one coming in his first North-West Derby when Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-0 in 2020.
Van Dijk, who has brought calmness and steel to Liverpool's backline since moving to Merseyside, has struck up a great, but honest relationship with Jurgen Klopp and will always be thankful to the German. "I definitely have a special connection with him," Van Dijk said in an interview. "And I will always be grateful for him making sure I was going to come here. He's just a fantastic, complete manager with a clear plan. I have a good relationship with him because he just tells you the truth and I will tell him the truth. That's something I really appreciate. I think he's definitely up there with the best coaches I've had."
Moving to the Premier League
After two years at Celtic, winning their Players' Player of the Year award in his first season, Van Dijk sealed a move to Southampton in September 2015 for £11.5million. Van Dijk signed a five-year contract with the Saints, with his debut ending in a goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
Van Dijk opened his account for Southampton in just his third Premier League appearance when his header helped the Saints to a 3-1 victory over Swansea City. Van Dijk's first season proved to be successful on both a personal level and for his team. He helped Southampton finish sixth in the 2015/16 season - the best Premier League finish in the club's history. Also, Van Dijk won Southampton's Player of the Season award and was rewarded with a new six-year contract.
Van Dijk was named the new club captain of Southampton for the 2016/17 campaign after Jose Fonte's departure. However, an ankle injury ruled Van Dijk out of the 3-1 EFL Cup final defeat against Manchester United. After another impressive season again from Van Dijk, Liverpool's interest in the Dutchman saw him hand in a transfer request. Despite the delay and apology Liverpool had to make, Van Dijk's last game for Southampton came in a 4-1 loss against Leicester in December 2017, before he made the switch to Liverpool in January 2018.
Captaining his country
Van Dijk's full international debut came in a 2-1 win against Kazakhstan in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier in October 2015. Van Dijk and his Dutch team suffered heartbreak when they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup - the first time since 2002.
In March 2018, Van Dijk's former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman - a man who Van Dijk thinks very highly of - awarded him the captaincy of his country. "To be named captain is very special, it means a lot for me," Van Dijk said as the news was shared. "Everyone knows he (Koeman) gave me my chance at Southampton and I'm very grateful for what he has done for me so far in my career."
Van Dijk scored his first goal for his country in March 2018, when his side demolished European champions Portugal, 3-0, at the Stade de Geneve. Van Dijk notched two goals against Germany in both UEFA Nations League games in 2018, before the Netherlands finished runners-up to Portugal.
Van Dijk has been in a relationship with childhood sweetheart Rike Nooitgedagt since they were teenagers and got married in 2017. Together they have a daughter Nila, who was born in 2014.
Since turning professional, Van Dijk only uses his first name on the back of his shirt. According to his uncle, Steven Fo Sieeuw, it's because of a family feud when father Ron van Dijk abandoned his Surinamese mother, Hellen Fo Sieeuw, and his two siblings when he was 12 years old. Van Dijk has two siblings - brother Jordan, who is a businessman, and sister Jennifer, who both use their mother's maiden name Fo Sieeuw.
Reports suggest that Virgil van Dijk has a net worth of $35.5million. According to Sportekz, Van Dijk earns £8million each season from his base salary and endorsements, with this increasing due to a new deal he signed with EA Sports game company for the soccer video game FIFA 20. Van Dijk is featured on the front cover of the FIFA 20 Champions Edition. Van Dijk earned $2.5million from his sponsorship deals with Nike and EA Sports.
The deal Van Dijk signed when he joined Liverpool in 2018 is a five-year contract, believed to be worth around $245,000 a week. The deal makes Van Dijk the third-highest paid player at Liverpool - behind Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah.