A talisman for Liverpool and regarded as one of the best centre-backs in world football, Virgil van Dijk is a fan favourite amongst the Anfield faithful.
One thing that has made Van Dijk stand out, apart from his obvious talents as a footballer, is the fact he uses “VIRGIL” on the back of his shirt for both club and country.
Now a family member has revealed the truth behind the lack of a surname on Van Dijk’s shirts for Liverpool and the Netherlands.
Uncle Reveals The Truth
There had been some speculation as to why Van Dijk used his given name on his shirts for Liverpool, who have been below par this season and currently find themselves at 13/5 in the football betting odds to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Perhaps a style factor was behind the name chosen, as many South American icons have selected a single non-surname on the back of their shirts over the years. However, Van Dijk’s maternal uncle Steven Fo Sieeuw has now confirmed the real reason behind the name selection.
Van Dijk’s parents split up and the eventual Premier League star did not see a great deal of his father Ron. Fo Sieeuw described Ron as a “nice guy” but suggested Van Dijk needed more than that. With the truth now revealed, it’s understandable why Van Dijk would be reluctant to have his father’s surname adorn his shirts for club and country.
Van Dijk Not Alone
When it comes to choosing a given name on the back of a shirt, Van Dijk is certainly not alone and for sadly similar reasons. Van Dijk’s Netherlands teammate Memphis Depay is another case. With “MEMPHIS” written on the back of his shirts for his country and new club Atlético Madrid, the forward is another player to use his first name.
When questioned why this was the case, the 28-year-old revealed that his father abandoned him and his family years ago. Saying he would “never forgive him” and also asking people to call him Memphis, Depay is another star who has made a subversive decision with his shirt name.
Former Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli is another player to have his given name on his shirt and actually made the change during his time at White Hart Lane. Back in 2016, Alli said that after speaking with his family he would instead have “DELE” written on the back of his shirts going forward.
The midfielder, who last played for England back in 2019, admitted he felt no connection to the Alli name and that was the reason he decided to make the change.
With the examples of Depay and Alli, it’s clear Van Dijk is not alone in making this personal decision with regard to his shirt name. The Dutch star appears to be comfortable with the choice and his focus has clearly moved elsewhere. Most likely at the moment with helping Liverpool have a stronger second half to a difficult Premier League season.