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How Life Could’ve Been Very, Very Different for Virgil van Dijk

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The superstar centerback suffered from a life threatening illness in 2011.

Newcastle United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Everyone has some sort of life changing event that ends up defining them in a way. For Virgil van Dijk, things in his life could’ve been very different. In 2011, Virgil was playing for Groningen in his home country of the Netherlands. He had just moved to the Dutch side, and he was struggling to break into the side. It turns out the struggles weren’t just due to on the field performance, but because he was suffering from a life threatening illness.

The dutch centerback was suffering from peritonitis, which is an infection of the abdomen that was caused by an exploded appendix. I’m not a doctor, but from what I can gather, it sounds rather uncomfortable!

“It wasn’t simple. It was a period that I looked after myself for the first time in my life. I couldn’t cook.” Virgil said. “I lived with another player and if you’re that young you think it’s easy. We just had training. We’re not going to try and cook. We’re going somewhere to eat.

“After I ate so much rubbish, the appendix was affected. I kept eating bad things. The appendix burst, and it was a very tough time.” van Dijk continued, “I learned so much about food and that we should value every situation we are in.

“When something like that happens you think a lot and today I appreciate everything we’ve got. I know that life is much more than football.

“We have family and it’s all about being happy and healthy.”

I don’t want to imagine life without Virgil. I’m glad he’s now taking care of his body.