Virgil van Dijk is one of the best, if not the best defender on the planet. The Dutchman has come from humble beginnings back in Holland to living the dream in the Premier League via Celtic.

The centre-back came in with a solid reputation and it was apparent to mostly every supporter the defender would go on to bigger and better things.

He had two years at the club where he earned a great reputation. Now a Champions League winner and soon to be Premier League winner — the towering Liverpool star still speaks very highly of his former club.

Speaking to SunSport, Virgil believes they size of Celtic is underestimated by many in the game. While it’s not the most competitive league in the world, the player recalls what being at Celtic did for his career:

“People still underestimate how big Celtic is, with European football and everything else.

“I spent two fantastic seasons there and I learned a lot in football and also in life.

“The European nights were outstanding and gained me a lot of experiences against certain strikers and in certain situations.

“But there was also the league. It isn’t the hardest in the world but it’s one where everyone expects you to win.

“So I had to deal with that – it was new to me. Willem II is not a team everyone expects to win and Groningen is the same. I had to learn that.

“In the youths we didn’t win a lot of championships so it was something to experience.

“I was always a winner in my feelings but not in competitions.

“I hate losing and so Celtic was very important for my development.”

Celtic made a lot of money on bringing Virgil in, selling him to Southampton and then getting a cut of that massive Liverpool fee. The player is a perfect example of how Celtic go about their business.


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