Virgil van Dijk was trending during Manchester City vs PSG as the Premier League side advanced to the final of the Champions League where they will face either Chelsea or Real Madrid.
The Dutchman hasn’t kicked a football competitively for 199 days now after a horrendous challenge from Jordan Pickford ended his season on 18 October, 2020.
He underwent surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and is now a major doubt to attend the Euros with the Netherlands although UEFA’s new rule which allows teams to take 26 players might mean he attends even if he’s not 100 per cent fit.
Yet despite being sidelined for months, van Dijk was trending during the Champions League semi-final last night and it has everything to do with comparisons between him and City defender Ruben Dias.
Speaking about Dias, Jamie Carragher compared Dias to van Dijk on CBS Sports on Paramount+ (04/05/21 at 10:25 pm), via HITC: “I think in his first season he has produced at Man City. I think he’s at that level. I don’t think he’s blessed with the physical attributes of Van Dijk.
“So, in some ways, I am more impressed with Dias.”
Dias’ display against PSG and his first season at the Etihad have seen him compared to van Dijk and although I’m biased, I still think the Liverpool defender is better but I cannot wait to see them go head to head next season when he’s fully fit.
The 2021/22 Premier League season might well see the best ever title race if Liverpool can reach the levels they did in 2019/20 where they won their first league title for three decades, ending with 99 points.
The fact that van Dijk was trending on Twitter during the game just highlights the status he holds in Europe as the best defender on the planet.
Dias still has a way to go to prove that he’s the best in the world but his age (23) is a huge advantage as he has a decade left at the top whereas van Dijk is 30 in a couple of months which makes his ACL tear that much more upsetting.
It’s awful that a player like van Dijk lost a year of his career due to a mindless challenge from Pickford.