Biography

Virgil van Dijk

Dutch Footballer
Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk (Photo: EA Sports)

Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch footballer who plays as a defender for Premier League club Liverpool FC.

Virgil van Dijk

Date of birth: 8 July 1991
Age: 30 years old
Place of birth: Breda, Netherlands
Nationality: Dutch
Position: Central defender
Height: 193cm / 6ft 4ins
Weight: 92kg / 203 lbs
Wages: £220,000 a week (reported)
Transfer value: £75m (2018)

Twitter: @virgilvdijk
Instagram: @virgilvandijk

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 is a regular fixture in the Netherlands national team following his debut on 10 October 2015. But what do we know of Van Dijk’s early life and his story up until this point? This is his story.

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.

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: EA Sports)

Celtic

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

Virgil completed a £13m move to Southampton from Celtic on 1 September 2015, signing a five-year deal with the Saints.

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 2015.

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.

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: LFC TV / YouTube)

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: LFC TV / YouTube)

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.

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

On 27 December 2017, Liverpool FC announced that they had agreed a deal to sign Van Dijk from Southampton in the forthcoming January transfer window.

Liverpool FC made Van Dijk the most-expensive defender in the world at the time when the Reds signed the Southampton defender.

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

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

The Dutch defender said upon his official unveiling as a Liverpool FC player: “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.

Van Dijk won his first piece of major silverware with Liverpool FC when the Reds lifted the Champions League trophy in June 2019, following a 2-0 victory over Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

After having helped Liverpool FC to win the Premier League title in the 2019-20 season, Van Dijk missed most of the following season due to a serious knee injury (cruciate ligament damage) during the 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton on 17 October 2020.

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: Sky Sports / YouTube)

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: Sky Sports / YouTube)

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.

He has been a regular fixture in the Netherlands first team since then.

Ballon d’Or Nomination In 2019

Following his brilliant performances for Liverpool FC as the Reds won the Champions League in the 2018-19 season, Van Dijk was named in the shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

However, the Dutch defender ended up coming second behind Lionel Messi, who won the prestigious award for a record sixth time, with Cristiano Ronaldo finishing third.

Personal Life

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

Virgil is in a long-term relationship with Rike Nooitgedagt. The couple have reportedly been dating since childhood.

The couple have a daughter, who was born in 2014.

Virgil van Dijk – Did You Know?

• Van Dijk’s professional debut came on 1 May 2011, when he appeared for Groningen as a 72nd-minute substitute during a 4-2 win over ADO Den Haag.

• The towering defender finished as the runner-up to Lionel Messi in the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

• 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.

• 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 FC, 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 number four shirt at Anfield since the Premier League started.

• Standing at 6ft 4ins, Van Dijk is one of the tallest players in the Liverpool FC squad.

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