Virgil van Dijk was the best defender in football when a reckless tackle ruptured his ACL and sidelined Liverpool’s Dutch star late in 2020. A year-and-a-half later, and Virgil van Dijk is once again the best defender in football.
Some of the time in between, though, was difficult. Time spent away from the game and his teammates and focused only on the long road to recovery. But that time away, Van Dijk says, has made him more appreciative of where he is today.
“I play for arguably the biggest club in the world with one of the best teams in Europe, with the quality of players that we have and the manager,” Van Dijk noted. “It’s an amazing place to be and I’m not taking it for granted.”
“It was really tough to be out for such a long time. Missing so much football, being with the boys, travelling and being with the fans. It was tough because I went from playing consistently for two years to being out for a year.”
The journey isn’t over, though. Van Dijk is once again at a level few can dream of reaching, but he still thinks he’s getting better with each game and training session—and his absence meant missing a few things he’d like to make up for.
“Missing the Euros was a tough thing for me,” he added. “But I feel like everything happens for a reason and this injury happened. I’ve recovered, I’m getting better in my opinion every day and I’m just enjoying my football.”