Liverpool’s exceptional central defender Virgil van Dijk wants to play on until he’s 37-years-old.
The Dutchman has been speaking ahead of tonight’s crunch Champions League clash with Manchester City, where he’ll be charged with keeping Pep Guardiola’s vibrant attack quiet.
Liverpool have a 3-0 lead from the first-leg but City beat us 5-0 at home earlier in the campaign and the job is by no means done.
“I’m never nervous. I am just excited. I think, ‘look where I am, playing for the semi-finals of the Champions League with my team. Just enjoy it and love it’,” he told the Telegraph.
“If everything goes well I will play until 36/37 hopefully and then football is over, so just enjoy it. That is why I started to play football and why I wanted to do it day in, day out. Sometimes you lose, but if you win the feeling is amazing!”
The 26-year-old has been nothing short of a revelation since his world-record £75m move from Southampton.
Dejan Lovren, Andrew Robertson and Loris Karius have all visibly improved under his guidance, too, with Liverpool racking up five clean-sheets in van Dijk’s last nine starts.
“Obviously you guys talk about that but I don’t take credit on my own for that,” he continued.
“It is the whole way we defend. If you look closely at what those three up front do collectively and then the guys behind, it makes it so much easier for us. Then obviously there is Loris (Karius) the last line. The guys up front put the work in which is magnificent.”
We hope van Dijk stays with us for the next decade, taking him up until his 2028 planned retirement!
The last centre-back who was as good as van Dijk was Sami Hyypia, who enjoyed a ten year spell between 1999 and 2009.
Van Dijk shares his physicality, leadership and composure – and we’re delighted Jurgen Klopp went against common opinion and waited until the winter to sign him rather than buying an alternative in 2017.