- Van Dijk called "arrogant"
- Leadership qualities questioned
- Defender hits back at remarks
WHAT HAPPENED? After the Netherlands lost 4-0 to France last Friday, Van Dijk received criticism from Van Basten and Gullit. Van Basten said the defender "created chaos" rather than put out fires for the Dutch, while Gullit accused him of being arrogant.
Amid a frustrating season in which he's also suffered a dip in form at club level with Liverpool, Van Dijk had little patience with the undermining comments from his countrymen.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "This is of no use to me," he told Ziggo Sport after being informed of the assessments from Van Basten and Gullit. "Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion these days, that's the case. [But] did I set the bar unrealistically high? How is that possible? It was never perfect – constant is the right word. We've had a lot of success with the team. Football players, they [Van Basten and Gullit] know that better than anyone, have high peaks and deep valley.
"It's quite normal that you can't always play consistently. That you have a phase as a club or player where you are looking for your level. People should not forget that. It is normal that people make mistakes, that it is part of football and that it is very human. Regardless of who gets a platform and is allowed to say what, so that things are made big."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Van Dijk was incredible before his recent frustrations, winning the Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool and being named a Ballon d'Or runner-up in 2019. So, he feels he has earned more leeway than critics have shown in recent months.
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WHAT NEXT FOR VAN DIJK? He'll be back with Liverpool this weekend to take on Manchester City on Saturday.