Biography

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch footballer currently at Liverpool FC. Find out more about Virgil in our in-depth biography

Liverpool FC defender Virgil van Dijk Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch footballer who currently players for Premier League club Liverpool FC.

The Netherlands international completed a club record £75m move to Liverpool FC from Premier League rivals Southampton on 1 January 2018.

Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in the world following his switch to Anfield from the south coast following a protracted transfer saga.

The Dutch defender moved from Eredivisie club Groningen from Scottish Premier League champions Celtic in £2.6m deal in 2013.

After two seasons in Scotland, Southampton signed Van Dijk in a £13m transfer on 1 September 2015 to link up with his compatriot Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s.

The Liverpool FC defender has made 16 appearances for the Netherlands national team following his debut in 10 October 2015.

Personal Information:

Date of birth: 8 July 1991
Age: 29 years old
Place of birth: Breda, Netherlands
Nationality: Dutch
Height: 193cm / 6ft 4ins
Weight: 92kg / 203 lbs
Wages: £180,000 a week
Transfer value: £75 million
Shirt number: 4

Twitter: virgilvdijk
Instagram: virgilvandijk

Early career

Virgil started his football career at Willem II. The Dutch defender spent on season at the club as a youth player before he moved to Groningen in 2010.

Groningen

Van Dijk completed a free transfer to Groningen in 2010.

The towering centre-half made his competitive debut as a second-half substitute in a 4-2 ADO Den Haag.

Virgil established himself as a regular first-team player in 2011-12 season.

The Dutch defender made 32 appearances during the Eredivisie campaign to get some vital experience under his belt. Van Dijk scored his first professional goal in a 6-0 win against Feyenoord in October 2011.

Van Dijk finished with three goals following additional efforts against Heracles Almelo and FC Twente.

His final season at Groningen saw Van Dijk score two goals in 37 games in all competitions to capture interest from the Scottish Premier League.

Celtic

Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

Virgil completed a £2.6m move to Celtic from Groningen on 21 June 2013.

The new signing made his Celtic debut as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Aberdeen in the Scottish top flight on 17 August. A week later, manager Neil Lennon handed Van Dijk his full debut for Celtic’s 2-2 draw with Caledonian Thistle at Celtic Park.

Van Dijk opened his account for the SPL champions with two headers in a 4-1 win over Ross County in November.

His first red card in Scotland came in a 2-1 loss to Aberdeen in February 2014.

Virgil scored five times in 36 games in Scottish top flight to help Celtic win the league title. He was also named in the SPL team of the year.

The Netherlands centre-half started the 2015-16 season in style with a last-minute headed winner in a 2-1 win against Aberdeen.

Van Dijk earned his second red card in a 1-0 loss to Inter Milan in the Europa League. The Scottish side lost 4-3 on aggregate to crash out of the competition at the round of 32.

He helped Celtic to secure a 2-0 win over Dundee United to win the Scottish League Cup at Hamden Park.

In the Scottish Cup, Van Dijk netted a free-kick to break the deadlock in a 3-2 loss to Iverness to end their hopes of a treble success.

He won the SPL title for a second successive season and netted 10 times in 58 games in all competitions. He was named in the SPL team of the year for the second consecutive season.

Celtic lost to Malmo in the Champions League qualifying round to prompt speculation about the stylish defender’s future at Parkhead.

Southampton

Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

Virgil completed a £13m move to Southampton from Celtic on 1 September 2015.

The Netherlands defender signed a five-year contract with the Saints to run until 2021.

Van Dijk linked up with Dutch legend and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s.

He made his Premier League debut in a 0-0 draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns on 12 September.

Virgil’s first goal in England came in his third Premier League appearance to help Southampton ease to a 3-1 win against Swansea City.

The Dutch defender established himself as one of the Premier League’s most promising defenders during his first season at St Mary’s.

He scored three goals in 38 appearances to earn a new six-year contract with the Saints, which Virgil signed on 7 May 2016.

Van Dijk was named Southampton club captain after Jose Fonte moved to West Ham United in the 2017 January transfer window. His appointment was reward for his outstanding performances in the first half of his second season at St Mary’s.

Under new manager Claude Puel, Van Dijk was instrumental in helping Southampton to reach the League Cup final at Wembley.

Virgil suffered a serious ankle injury during a Premier League clash with Leicester to curtail his 2016-17 season.

The Dutch centre-half missed out on the EFL Cup final due to injury after the Saints lost 3-2 to Manchester United at Wembley.

Van Dijk was linked with a move to Liverpool FC in the 2017 summer transfer window.

Indeed, the Southampton captain was spotted talking to Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp in Blackpool to fuel talk of a potential move to Anfield.

The Netherlands international was linked with a move to defending Premier League champions Chelsea and Manchester City but Liverpool FC were touted as favourites to sign Van Dijk.

However, the Reds issued a statement apologising to Southampton for their pursuit of the Dutch centre-half and officially ended their interest in Van Dijk.

On 7 August 2017, Virgil handed in a transfer request at Southampton in an attempt to force through a summer move before deadline day.

It read:

“I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.

“I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.

“I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.”

Despite his transfer request, Van Dijk started the 2017-18 season as a Southampton player.

His first appearance since January as a late substitute on 26 September in Southampton’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

He featured in 12 Premier League games before his final Saints appearance in a 4-1 loss to Leicester City on 13 December.

Liverpool FC

Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

Liverpool FC made Van Dijk the most expensive defender in the world when the Reds signed the Southampton defender in a £75m deal.

Virgil signed a long-term contract with the 18-time English champions after he became the Merseyside club’s record signing.

Van Dijk will wear the No4 short previously occupied by Sami Hyypia. The retired Finnish defender was a former Groningen player like Van Dijk.

The Dutch defender said upon his official announcement:

“I think the most important thing is the size of the club, the culture of the club, the players, the manager and obviously the fans, who make the club this special.

“With the history at the club and everything around it – even the training ground and stuff – it is just a perfect, perfect match for me, and for my family as well.”

Van Dijk scored on his Liverpool FC debut in a 2-1 win against Everton in the FA Cup.

He made 23 appearances for the Reds in the 2017-18 season as Liverpool FC reached the Champions League final.

Klopp’s side lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Kiev showpiece.

International career

Virgil made his first Netherlands appearance in a 2–1 away win against Kazakhstan in a Uefa Euro 2016 qualifier on 15 October 2015.

Van Dijk has since made a further 15 appearances for the Oranje, but the Netherlands international won’t feature at next summer’s World Cup.

Personal life

Van Dijk was born in Breda to a Dutch father and Surinamese mother.

Virgil is in a long-term relationship with his Dutch girlfriend Rike Nooitgeda.

The pair had their first daughter, Rike, in 2014.

Interesting facts about Virgil van Dijk

Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

• Van Dijk was born in Breda but never represented his local Eredivisie club NEC Breda.

• The defender was released by Willem II at the age of 18 and opted to join fellow top-flight outfit Groningen, where he eventually made his name. Virgil’s career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

• Van Dijk has won four pieces of silverware in his career so far. The defender won the Scottish Premiership twice and the Scottish League Cup in two seasons at Celtic.

• Virgil is the eighth Dutchman to represent Liverpool, following in the footsteps of Erik Meijer, Sander Westerveld, Bolo Zenden, Jan Kromkamp, Ryan Babel, Dirk Kuyt and Georginio Wijnaldum. Wijnaldum is the only other Dutch player still at Anfield.

• Van Dijk follows in the footsteps of Alberto Aquilani, Jason McAteer, Kolo Toure, Nuri Sahin, Raul Meireles, Rigobert Song, Sami Hyypia and Steve Nicol as the occupant of the No4 shirt since the Premier League started.

• The Liverpool FC defender has made 19 appearances in the Champions League – including the qualification phase. Van Dijk could feature in the Reds’ last-16 clash against Portuguese club FC Porto in the Champions League next February.

• Standing at 6ft 4ins, Van Dijk is the third tallest player in Klopp’s squad behind Joel Matip and Adam Bogdan (both 6ft 5in).

MORE:

MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge

BIOGRAPHY: Kepa Arrizabalaga

Laver Cup 2018
The Sport Review
Laver Cup 2018: Federer, Djokovic and fellow top-10s relish European defence – ‘We’re ready!’
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
The Sport Review
Laver Cup 2018: Rivals Federer and Djokovic ‘thrilled and excited’ to join forces on opening day
The Sport Review
Paul Scholes: What I really think about Man United’s progress
The Sport Review
Maurizio Sarri reveals Eden Hazard decision ahead of West Ham v Chelsea FC