Virgil van Dijk snubs Cristiano Ronaldo when naming his four toughest opponents

The Liverpool star made a surprise choice.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk snubbed Cristiano Ronaldo when asked to name the toughest opponents he has faced.

As one of the best defenders in the world, Virgil van Dijk certainly knows a thing or two about dealing with world class attackers.

The Liverpool star joined Jurgen Klopp’s side from Southampton in a ¬£75 million deal in January 2018, then a world record fee for a defender.

Since then Van Dijk has won five major trophies at the club, including the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020.

The Netherlands international has come up against the best attackers in the world for both club and country, although when asked to name his toughest opponents, he snubbed Cristiano Ronaldo.

Instead of picking the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Van Dijk named Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, Sergio Aguero and Olivier Giroud.

Speaking on the Rest is Football podcast with Gary Lineker and Micah Richards, Van Dijk explained why he picked Haaland and his Manchester City predecessor, Aguero.

“I would say Erling Haaland is a very difficult opponent, [he is] very strong, a modern day striker,” Van Dijk said.

“It’s the directness. If you give them an inch then they will punish you.

Van Dijk vs Haaland- Getty

Van Dijk vs Haaland- Getty

“It’s the same with Aguero. He didn’t score many goals against us, but since I played against him when I was at Southampton he was always a handful, he could finish with his left or right, you always had to be at your best.

“I remember one goal he scored against us in 2018-19, he came in front of Dejan Lovren from a cross and finished it so quickly.”

While some fans might be surprised with the selection of Giroud, Van Dijk explained why he rates the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker so highly.


“[He was] a link-up player, together at the time with [Eden] Hazard, it was always Hazard giving him the flick and he would hold up the ball,” he said.

“He also scored good goals against me. I always felt like he wasn’t going to score, but he managed to score.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk, Cristiano Ronaldo, Premier League, Football, Manchester City, Erling Haaland

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