Is there a better defender in world football than Virgil van Dijk, at the moment?
The likes of Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba, Ruben Dias etc are all good shouts, but Van Dijk often seems in a class of his own.
The Dutchman paints a towering figure, who quickly imposes his authority on the game. He’s aggressive with his challenges, and his confidence oozes through his signature smirks. Despite his large stature, the 30-year-old carries surprising mobility, add to the mix his world-class passing abilities, and you have the complete defender.
We aren’t his only admirers, of course, even the legendary duo of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini have hailed Big Virg.
However, Van Dijk was a late bloomer, and up until 2018, he was still playing for Southampton. His subsequent arrival at Liverpool provided him with the platform for winning Europe’s biggest titles, but the Dutchman was well into his prime by then.
This does pose a question of, what would his trophy haul look like had he moved to one of the elites sooner?
His qualities have firmly established him as a modern great, so comparisons with others in the same vein are natural. When asked about one such comparison with Real Madrid Legend, Sergio Ramos, Van Dijk gave a fitting response.
In an interview with Ziggo Sport he said, “I arrived quite late in football, but this is why I enjoy my career even more. I will never win as many trophies as Sergio Ramos but this doesn’t matter, I am proud of my career”.
The legendary Spaniard’s trophy haul would take a miracle to replicate, let alone surpass for any player.
Nevertheless, silverware can’t be the definitive tool for comparison, and Van Dijk certainly has had a career most can only dream of.
After all, with a UCL and Premier League title to his name, alongside the coveted UEFA Men’s player of the year award, who wouldn’t be proud?