Van Dijk: Netherlands not just going to play against Ronaldo
Ahead of the Nations League final against the Dutch defender is focused on more than just the superstar on the other side of the field
Virgil van Dijk said there was more for Netherlands to worry about than just Cristiano Ronaldo in their Nations League final against Portugal.
Netherlands booked their spot in the decider with a 3-1 extra-time win over England in Guimaraes on Thursday.
Van Dijk, considered one of the world’s best defenders, and Ronaldo, arguably the best player on the planet, will go head to head in the final on Sunday.
But the Liverpool star said there was more to Portugal than just Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick in their semi-final victory against Switzerland.
“We’ll see. It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo we’re going to face, we face a great Portugal. We will see what’s going to happen,” Van Dijk told reporters.
“I’m looking forward to playing this final with this team, and we’re going to give everything that we can to hopefully hold that trophy in the end and do everyone proud.”
While Ronaldo starred again against Switzerland, a Portugal teenager – Joao Felix – has generated plenty of buzz with his performances for Benfica.
The youngster started and played well in the club’s semi-final win and is being linked with a big-money move this summer having shown his quality in Europe with a classy hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash.
And Liverpool defender Van Dijk, who helped his club to the Champions League crown this season, said he expected Joao Felix to have a fine career.
“I watch football as well, I’ve seen the Europa League. Everyone has seen him. He’s a big talent for them,” he said.
“He has a bright future in front of him if he stays humble and keeps working hard and hopefully we can shut them down.
“Hopefully we are going to win.”
A Nations League triumph would cap off a wonderful year for Van Dijk, who has become one of the best centre-backs in the world since making the jump to Liverpool.
Aside from winning the Champions League crown, to club finished just one point back of Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
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