Van Dijk snubs Haaland and Ronaldo as he names toughest striker he’s ever faced
Virgil van Dijk has snubbed Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo when naming the toughest striker he has ever come up against.
The Liverpool defender is widely regarded as the best centre-back in world football and not many are known to trouble him. He recently appeared on Sky’s The Overlap with Gary Neville where he was quizzed on a variety of different subjects.
But when asked who his most challenging opponent to date was, Van Dijk surprisingly named former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud over several world class players.
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Van Dijk said: "Olivier Giroud was the striker I've struggled against the most. I always felt like I had him, but somehow, he always managed to score against us. Whether it was for Arsenal, Chelsea or France, he always scored.
"The year we won the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, we beat Chelsea 5-2 (sic). We were winning 3-0 and he scored a scrappy goal, and I thought to myself 'we're winning comfortably, but he's still scoring against me.’”
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Van Dijk was referring to a game where Giroud pounced on a rebound to prod the ball past Alisson Becker. But the centre-back would have the last laugh on that occasion as Liverpool went on to secure a 5-3 win and clinch their first top flight title in 30 years.
The Dutchman did go on to name Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero as other formidable opponents, while also name-checking Haaland as a striker who “has everything”. But he failed to mention Manchester United legend Ronaldo, who will surely be scratching his head at the omission.
He also reserved special praise for Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, saying: "Someone that I've never played with before but would love at Liverpool is Kevin De Bruyne.
"He's unbelievable, and if he would've played at Liverpool, we would've gone even further than what we have done. He's outstanding, good on the ball, he presses high, scores plenty of goals, and has every attribute of a modern-day midfielder and footballer in general."
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