Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, who was oddly left out of Brazil’s squad for the Copa America, has been singing Virgil van Dijk’s praises.
“One guy who impresses me a lot is van Djik,” he told Cleber Machado – as per Sport Witness. “I hadn’t particularly seen so many games of his [before I joined]. In the games I saw, I focused on the midfield there. I didn’t see much of him.
“And man, since the pre-season I arrived, following him like that, the guy is sovereign. No one beats him on the air. I think he’s been there for 64 games without being dribbled.
“He’s fast, and it’s funny that it seems like he doesn’t have to make effort to run. He does it that way, like a big guy, and he easily gets to the ball.”
Big Virg is dominant in the air, this we know, but the man himself also knows it as Fabinho explains that he simply shouts his name when he wants to head the ball clear – like a lad playing in a park.
“Aerial balls are funny, because the ball comes and we just hear him shouting ‘Virgil’, Fabinho explained. “And you can let it pass, whoever the attacker is.
“Against Manchester [United], he impressed me. Because we were going to play against [Romelu] Lukaku. I thought ‘hey Lukaku has his size, let’s see if he will hold up’.
“My god. Every air ball, it was ‘Virgil!’, he would run over. You hear ‘Virgil!’, you get out of the way, because he will come running over.”
The Reds’ Champions League winning PFA Player of the Year, van Dijk, is now the odds-on favourite to win 2019’s Ballon d’Or award, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Dutchman is the 4/6 favourite at the moment, with Messi just behind at 6/5 and five-time winner Ronaldo on odds of 12/1.