The only defender in the history of football to ever win the UEFA Player of the Year award and considered as one of the best football defenders ever, in this article we will take a look at Virgil van Dijk biography.
Virgil van Dijk, born on 8 July 1991 in Breda,Netherlands
, is a Dutch international footballer of Surinamese origin who plays as a central defender.
Originally trained with Willem II Tilburg, Van Dijk began his professional career withFC Groningen
. In 2013, he signed for Scottish clubCeltic FC
, where he won his first titles and became a Dutch international. Three seasons later he signed forSouthampton FC
in thePremier League
Having made his name in one of the best leagues in the world, he joinedLiverpool FC
in the winter of 2018, becoming the most expensive defender in history. With the Reds, he played twoChampions League
finals in his first two seasons and won the competition in 2019.
On the international level, Virgil van Dijk played his first match for the Dutch senior team in 2015. He soon established himself in a team that unfortunately did not qualify for Euro 2016 and then for the 2018 World Cup. Subsequently, the Netherlands were finalists in the League of Nations 2018-2019.
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He was named the 2018-19 Premier League Player of the Season and Player of the Match in the 2018-19 Champions League Final. He has also been voted as the team's Most Valuable Player playing for Celtic and Southampton.
Now that we know him much better, in this section of
Virgil van Dijk biography
we will share some more general information about the Dutch star player. Stay tuned.
Virgil van Dijk Bio
Full Name: Virgil van Dijk
Nickname: The Dyke
Profession: Professional Footballer
Virgil van Dijk Physical Stats
Weight: 92 Kg
Height: 1.93 m
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Black
Virgil van Dijk Football Information
Jersey Number: 4
Professional Debut: 2011
Virgil van Dijk Date of Birth and Personal Info
Date of Birth: 8 July 1991
Birth Place: Breda, Netherlands
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Now stay tuned to this section of
Virgil van Dijk Biography
as we want to share some information about
Virgil van Dijk childhood
Virgil van Dijk was born in Breda to a Dutch father and a Surinamese mother. He started playing football with Willem II's club. Because of his late growth, he was considered too small by his trainers while playing right full-back and was close to being dismissed from the club at the age of sixteen. However, during the following season, he grew 20 centimeters and established himself as captain of his youth team.
After it became clear in 2010 that head coach Alfons Groenendijk did not want to bring him to the first team of Willem ll and the club refused to offer him a contract, he left at the age of 19 for FC Groningen, where he started in the U23 team. Halfway through the 2010/11 season, Pieter Huistra selected him for the first team a few times.
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Van Dijk made his first professional debut (as a striker) on 1 May 2011 when he played for the FC Groningen first team againstADO Den Haag
. On 29 May, he was in the starting line-up for the first time, in a playoff game at home against the same ADO Den Haag. In that game, he scored his first two goals for FC Groningen. In the preparation for the 2011/12 season, Van Dijk played regularly in friendly matches. From an away game againstSC Heerenveen
, he got a place in the centre back. This was done at the expense of Jonas Ivens's injury.
On 30 October 2011, he scored his first league goal in a 6-0 win against Feyenoord. Van Dijk had a strong first season but was rushed to the Martini Hospital in early April, where advanced appendicitis, peritonitis and kidney poisoning were diagnosed, and Van Dijk had to fight for his life. The ailments were previously not recognised by the medical staff of FC Groningen and the University Medical Centre Groningen. He was rushed into surgery and his recovery took a long time.
In the summer of 2012, he rejoined the squad, where in the meantime Robert Maaskant had taken over as coach from Huistra. Despite the club having a shaky season, Van Dijk, who played together with veteran Kees Kwakman in the centre of defence, was outstanding. There was interest from other clubs, but after a dramatic game for the national team against young Italy, none of the parties was willing to move on. In the summer of 2013, Van Dijk was a candidate to strengthen PSV's defence, but the club eventually chose Jeffrey Bruma as their new central defender.
A transfer to Brighton & Hove Albion FC or FK Krasnodar, both of whom wanted to pay the asking price of FC Groningen director Hans Nijland, was rejected by Van Dijk himself. Van Dijk, who actually preferred a transfer to a Dutch top club, contacted Marc Overmars himself via Nijland and his manager to discuss a possible transfer to AFC Ajax. However, the club, who were in the market for a new central defender at the time, decided not to accept Van Dijk's offers and eventually attracted Mike van der Hoorn from FC Utrecht.
Now stay tuned to this section of
Virgil van Dijk Biography
as we want to share some information about his Celtic career.
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On 21 June it was officially announced that he had joined Celtic and signed a 4-year contract with the club. Van Dijk played his first official match for Celtic on 17 August 2013 in a match against Aberdeen. He replaced Efe Ambrose 13 minutes before the end of normal time and the match ended in a 2-0 win for Celtic. A week later, the defender was in Celtic's starting line-up for the first time in a home match against Inverness Caledonian Teesle, which ended in a surprise 2-2 draw.
On 9 November, Virgil scored a double against Ross County, scoring his first goals in theScottish Premiership.
Van Dijk netted his third goal against St Johnstone, bringing Celtic to a 1-0 win. In Virgil van Dijk's debut season at Celtic Park, Celtic produced a streak of 11 straight wins and took their next title by a wide margin. Remarkably, Celtic's only defeat of the season was against Aberdeen on 25 February. Van Dijk watched that game from the locker room, after receiving a red card in the 13th minute.
Aberdeen also knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup with a 2-1 win at Celtic Park. At the end of the season, van Dijk won the Scottish title and was named in the Scottish Premiership team of the year.
The Dutchman sealed the double for Celtic in his second season in charge, taking the Scottish league title and the Scottish League Cup. Before the start of the league, he helped Celtic reach the final of the Champions League qualification play-offs, scoring two goals against KR Reykjavik. However, in the decisive encounter with Maribor, Celtic lost at home (0-1).
Because of that, Celtic made it to theEuropa League
, where they finished second in their group and made the playoffs. Van Dijk took part in all six group stage games. In the league, Celtic suffered four defeats in 33 games and finished eight points clear of second place. Van Dijk established himself as a full-time performer, scoring three goals from direct free-kicks.
The defender was again included in the tournament's team of the year, having played in 35 games in the 2014/15 Scottish Premier League. In the 2015/2016 season, Celtic again failed to qualify for the Champions League group stage, losing in the play-off final to Malmö. After that, van Dijk seriously considered leaving the club.
On 31 August 2015, van Dijk moved to the English Premier League as a player for Southampton, which paid £11.5m for his transfer. He played his first game for the Saints on 12 September againstWest Bromwich Albion
(0-0). In his third match at St Mary's, van Dijk scored against Swansea (3-1). In his opening season at Southampton, he took part in 34 Premier League games and his side scored a record 63 points to qualify for the Europa League group stage.
At the end of the season, van Dijk signed a new six-year contract with the Saints. During the summer, Southampton received offers to sell the defender but retained him for his debut campaign in the Europa League. It started with a confident 3-0 win over Sparta Prague but then Southampton lost points against Hapoel, Inter and in the return leg against Sparta. In the decisive game, the club failed to beat Hapoel at home and was left out of the play-offs.
Van Dijk played well in the first half of the season, primarily known for his performance in attack. He scored 2 goals in the Europa League and 2 in the English league. The Dutchman was ready to leave Southampton in the winter but suffered a serious injury against Leicester and did not play again that season.
In the summer of 2017, there was a real epic in England with van Dijk's failed move to Liverpool. The Merseyside club tried to negotiate directly with the player but met with fierce resistance from Southampton. Eventually, under the pressure of St Mary's and the threat of a ban, Liverpool had to formally apologize for their actions and drop their claim for the player. Van Dijk was also linked with Chelsea,Manchester City
that summer, but the transfer eventually failed.
Van Dijk boycotted the opening games of the season but did resume his career at St Mary's on 26 September, coming on as a substitute against Crystal Palace (1-0). As the first half of the 2017/2018 season progressed, he was no longer an important player and played his last match for the team against Leicester City (1-4) on 13 December.
Now stay tuned to this section of Virgil van Dijk Biography as we want to share some information about his career at Liverpool.
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He transferred to Liverpool on 1 January 2018, becoming the most expensive defender in the history of football. The transfer sum was £75 million and the contract was signed for 5 years. Celtic received 10% of that amount. At Liverpool, the Dutchman was awarded number four. However, he does not have his surname on his shirt. Virgil believes his father did not deserve to have his surname on the shirt.
On 5 January, in his first-ever match for Liverpool against Everton in the 1/32 of the FA Cup final, he scored the winning goal in the 84th minute of the match. The encounter ended 2-1 in favour of the Reds and the defender won the hearts of the team's fans from the first match. The club was quick to include him in their entry to all competitions. Although they failed to challenge for the league title, Liverpool managed to shine in the Champions League, reaching the final. In the final againstReal Madrid
, he played the full 90 minutes but his team lost 1-3.
The following season, Liverpool won the Champions League and finished second in the Premier League, suffering only one defeat in the season, losing to hard-fought Manchester City. December 2018 began with two goal assists against Everton and Burnley. The tricky pass came in the Merseyside derby. In the final minute of added time, van Dijk arrived at a standard cross and attempted a low shot.
It was a sloppy shot, but the ball took an intricate trajectory, hit the crossbar and went back into the box, embarrassing Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Divock Origi pushed the ball into the goal and gave the hosts a crucial win at Anfield. Over the season, van Dijk established himself as a key player in the Merseyside defence and one of the team leaders, as reflected in individual awards: in April 2019, the defender won the English Premier League Player of the Season award, and on 31 July he made the shortlist of ten contenders for The Best FIFA Men's Player Award.
On 29 August, van Dijk won the UEFA European Footballer of the Year award. In the Ballon d'Or vote, the Dutchman came second, behind only Lionel Messi.
In the 2019/20 season, van Dijk helped Liverpool win the Premier League for the first time since 1990, scoring 5 goals and making all league appearances.
On 12 September 2020, van Dijk scored a header against Leeds United in the opening game of the 2020/21 EPL season. On 17 October, he was substituted in the sixth minute of the match against Everton following a collision with Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The next day it was announced that he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee and would undergo surgery.
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Virgil van Dijk played his first match for the Netherlands U21 team in a European Championship qualifier against Scotland in Nijmegen on 14 November 2011.
On 10 October 2015, he made his first appearance for the Dutch senior team under coach Danny Blind in a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in a European Championship qualifier in Astana. The 2016 European Championship in France was missed after a 3-2 defeat in the final match in Amsterdam against the Czech Republic. He also failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with the Dutch team.
Under Danny Blind and his interim successor Dick Advocaat, who however resigned after the missed qualification, van Dijk made six appearances in the qualifiers. New coach Ronald Koeman appointed Virgil van Dijk as the new captain of the Dutch national team.
Playing in League A in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League, van Dijk played against world champions France and Germany, among others, during the group matches and contributed to the group win with his goal to equalize 2-2 in the last match against Germany. In the Final Four, the Netherlands team reached the final but lost toPortugal
In the qualification for the European Championship 2020, Virgil van Dijk and the Holland national team qualified for the next round as runners-up in their group. Now stay tuned to this section of Virgil van Dijk Biography as we want to share some information about his playing style.
A central defender with a great physique, he stands out for his ability to anticipate and for the accuracy of his defensive interventions, but he also proves to be skillful in marking, as well as being an excellent header, which allows him to be very dangerous on set pieces; he has good footwork, which enables him to be useful in setting up the game.
He has shown himself to be endowed with a great spirit of sacrifice on several occasions, most notably the two games in the run-up to October 2018, when he voluntarily took the field despite having two broken ribs. In both games, he was one of the best players on the pitch.
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These days, Virgil van Dijk is widely regarded by football fans, critics and many footballers and managers as one of the best defenders in the world. He is so far the only defender who has managed to win the UEFA Player of the Year award.
Being a great header, we often see Virgil van Dijk score goals for his club and the Netherlands national team. Virgil often celebrates the goals he scores by putting his hand under the chin and wiggling his fingers. One of the goal celebrations that we have seen more than once is when he goes towards the fans and jumps, shouting in joy.
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In 2012, Virgil was almost dead due to a health issue. His former coach Dick Lukkien has spoken about this dark period in Van Dijk's life. Van Dijk played for FC Groningen and after the game against Excelsior, things went wrong. "Virgil was ill, but we didn't know how bad it was. We actually thought he had the flu," says Lukkien. "He was home for a few days and was in a lot of pain. In the hospital they couldn't find anything, so he went home again."
But the pain got worse and his mother came to visit. According to Lukkien, she saw it immediately: it was wrong. She quickly took him to another hospital, which proved crucial. Van Dijk had appendicitis, a kidney infection and peritonitis.
His life was briefly feared and so Van Dijk had to do what you would not want to ask of a 20-year-old. He made a will. "I had to sign all kinds of papers. Nobody wanted to talk about it, but we had to", he said at the time. "If I died, some of my money would go to my mother," Van Dijk said. "It could have just been over."
Van Dijk missed the rest of the season, returning after the summer. Lukkien was shocked. "He had changed from a big guy to a shrunk person. Fortunately, he then recovered quickly."
In this section of Virgil van Dijk biography, we take a deeper look into his personal life and share information about
Virgil van Dijk religion
Virgil van Dijk life story
The Dutch defender not only plays well on the field but also off the field. Virgil van Dijk's married his beautiful girlfriend Rike Nooitgedagt a few years ago and they are living a great marriage together.
The couple had their daughter in 2014 named Nila. His wife was a sales manager in the clothing industry, however, after the transfer of Virgil to Celtic, she quit her job to stay with his love.
Virgil van Dijk’s family now live in England as he is one of the key players of Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk’s religion is Christianity.
Amongst the star footballers these days, Virgil van Dijk is one of the names we usually hear when it comes to charity works. In February 2019, Virgil van Dijk donated €100,000 to charity ahead of their match against Bayern Munich. This money was donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross to be used to help rejoin families impacted by military wars and other traumatic circumstances.
Virgil van Dijk entered Shirtum's charitable campaign and donated one of his iconic match-worn jerseys to collect funds for hospitals struggling against COVID-19. Identified as #TheBiggestGame, the campaign saw sports celebrities donating a match-worn shirt to supporters to be auctioned away. The athlete then selects a hospital to which he donates the funds raised for his jersey. Virgil Van Dijk offered the jersey he wore throughout the 2017/18 Champions League semifinal match vs. AS Roma at the Olympic Stadium to be auctioned.
There are no reports on the media about any legal issues or disputes regarding Virgil van Dijk.
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In this section of Virgil van Dijk biography get ready as we want to share some information about his career stats as an international and club player.
From the start of his professional career at Groningen in 2010 until today that he’s a key player of Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk has played a total of 391 matches and scored 42 goals. Right now he is enjoying his time at Liverpool and so far he has played 130 matches for Liverpool. In the coming years, this number is surely going to increase.
After playing his first match for the Netherlands, Virgil van Dijk has gone to play 38 matches for his country, scoring 4 goals. His best year with the Dutch national team was 2018 when he scored 3 goals in 8 games.
At the club level, he has won all his titles and awards with British teams, which include Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
With the Netherlands, he was runner-up in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League.
He has won many individual titles and awards during his career which the most important of them include PFA Players' Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season, UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award, UEFA Defender of the Season, Liverpool Players' Player of the Season Award, IFFHS World Team of the Decade and Ballon d'Or 2nd place among others.