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Virgil Van Dijk: Symbol of Dedication, Diligence, and Tenacity

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As he steps down from his car, more than a few heads turn in his direction. There is this aura around and about him that seems irresistible. Standing at an impressive 1.93m, a beautiful face, and an athletic build as an extra accessory, this ponytailed handsome looks like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. He reminds one of Steven Seagal, but that means the new £100,000 Mercedes monster he steps down from must have come decades ahead of its time. He is no movie actor or a rock star. Welcome, Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool defender extraordinaire and the Dutch national team captain. At the age of 16, just a little over twelve years ago, van Dijk was a dish-washing hand at a local restaurant in his native city of Breda in the southern Netherlands. While there, his boss consistently advised him to forget about football and concentrate on the stipends he made doing his menial job. But he was undeterred and continued playing for his hometown club. He later joined the academy at Willem II, where he was told he would never break into the main team; this made him switch to FC Groningen. At FC Groningen, he proved his boss and childhood club wrong by impressing at the new club. The sterling performance earned him a move to Celtic and then Southampton. His outstanding performances at the latter convinced Liverpool to splash a whopping £75m on him – record fee for a defender at the time.

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The Liverpool defence marshaled by van Dijk proved to be close-knit in the Premier League finishing fourth and losing in the finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2017 – 2018 season. In the 2018 – 2019 season, the team upped their performance; they were on the heels of the eventual champions Manchester City, narrowly losing out by a single point on the last day of the league season. In the Champions League, however, they buried the ugly carcass of the previous season’s heartbreak of losing the final to Real Madrid, as they won the UCL in grand style, beating fellow English rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0. The dependable Virgil van Dijk contributed immensely to keeping things tight and tidy at the heart of the defence. He finished the season as the Premier League Player of the Year. The enigmatic Dutchman has gone 65 long matches without any player dribbling past him! What a sterling example of hard work, dedication, and tenacity! His dedication off the pitch must have positively influenced his success on it. Since childhood, he has remained dedicated to his sweetheart, Rike Nooitgedagt. Both online and in public, the couple’s affection for each other is no secret.

While he pursued his footballing career in the Netherlands, she was making massive progress in the fashion industry. Virgil’s dedication was so infectious that when he got the chance to join Celtic in 2013, it was easy for his long-term girlfriend to give up her passion to follow her heartthrob. She said, ‘I worked as a Sales Manager and sold different fashion brands to the stores in Holland. I loved it but had to resign to follow my man everywhere football takes him to.” In 2014, the couple was blessed with a lovely daughter. The trio along with their adorable dog remains a united front. The Dutch captain is also actively involved in charity. Along with his wife Rike, van Dijk has partnered with the Owen McVeigh Foundation in carrying out charity work in their community. Virgil van Dijk’s hard work and dedication on the pitch continues to pay off handsomely. The time it takes you to read this article is all he needs to make at least an additional £50!

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