Virgil Van Dijk’s name started to appear when he was brought in by Liverpool from Southampton in early 2018. Getting transferred with a price of 75 million euros, or around Rp 1.2 trillion, makes him the most expensive defender in history before eventually, Harry Maguire broke the record when he was recruited by Manchester from Leicester City.
During his time defending Liverpool, Virgil was transformed into one of the best defenders in the world. His calmness at the back made Liverpool’s defense difficult to break. He also managed to bring the Reds to be the king of Europe in 2019.
The player with the back number four was also successful in winning the title of FIFA’s best male soccer player in 2019. Not only that, even at the national team level, Virgil appeared impressive. However, there is something interesting during Virgil’s performance on the field.
In Europe and even in all corners of the world, it is common for footballers to use their last names on the jersey they wear. Name it David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, or Robin van Persie.
All of them use last names or family names. Usually, the name is used for generations as the identity of a family. In the Netherlands, the word ‘van’ is commonly used to connect first and last names like Marco van Basten, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rafael van Der Vart, Edwin van der Sar, and Virgil van Dijk.
However, there are differences between Virgil van Dijk and his predecessors. Usually, players who have the van’s name include the last name on the jersey.
For example, Marco van Basten who wrote the name ‘Van Basten’. Edwin van der Sar who wrote the name ‘Van Der Sar’ or Ruud van Nistelrooy who used the name ‘V. Nistelrooy ’in his jersey.
However, Virgil van Dijk used the first name on the jersey. “Virgil” as written above number four on the Liverpool jersey and the Dutch national team.
It turns out that Virgil van Dijk has his own reason for using his first name on his jersey. According to his uncle, Steven Fo Sieeuw, this was because Virgil had a bad relationship with his father, Ron Van Dijk.
“Virgil has done very well to be such a success considering the ups and downs that exist in his family. He had been through various problems of life in the family. His father separated from his mother and his three children including Virgil, and thus, he could not forgive his father,” said Steven Fo Sieeuw (Quoted from Sportible)
His uncle told that his father was not with him during the important years when Virgil struggled for his success. Virgil’s father left his mother, Hellen when he was 12 years old.
Those are why, in his life, Virgil only received love and full attention from her mother. For many years as well, Virgil’s mother was the one who had to support and raise her three children.
“To be honest, Virgil van Dijk’s father has not been in his life for years. His mother is a hero for him. He stated his feelings clearly,” said his uncle. (Quoted from Givemesport)
Despite introducing the world of soccer, Virgil reportedly felt offended by his father’s attitude. According to a story from his father’s friend, Virgil was upset after his father refused to attend one of Virgil’s matches with Southampton.
The absence of a father is not easy for a growing child like Virgil van Dijk. Luckily, the player who has defended Groningen had been proving to be successful as a footballer without his father.
Speaking of these difficult times, Virgil Van Dijk told Dutch journalist Jan Mennega in 2011: “I first lived with him [father] for a while and after that, I chose to return to live with my mother.
“At that time my brother and sister had lived with him. Then I cut off all contacts to my father.”
“At first it wasn’t good but I don’t need it anymore. My father tried to reestablish our communication but I didn’t want it. “
“When I get older maybe I will talk to him again, but at this moment I have no feelings for him.” Said Virgil Van Dijk (Quoted from Soccerpedia)
Virgil Van Dijk also added that his brother is a 24 years old businessman, named Jordan, and his sister Jennifer, 16 years old, also did not use Van Dijk as a family name and preferred to use the name of their mother’s girl, Fo Sieeuw.