Van Dijk consoles crying Hategan in classy gesture after referee's recent loss of his mother

Virgil van Dijk NetherlandsGetty

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk has explained why he consoled the referee after his side's 2-2 draw with Germany.

The Liverpool star scored late on as Oranje recovered from 2-0 down to earn a point which secured their place in the finals of the UEFA Nations League.

Once the full-time whistle sounded at the Veltins Arena on Monday evening, Van Dijk consoled Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan.

Article continues below

And Van Dijk has since revealed the reason for the beautiful gesture was because the official had learned of his mother's passing, with Digi Sport reporting that Hategan heard the news at half-time of the match after asking his family to be kept informed..

In quotes reported by Voetbal International , he said: "He told me his mum recently passed away. He broke down and started crying.

"I consoled him and told him he refereed well.

"It's a small thing, but I hope it helped."

Van Dijk has emerged as a true leader in what has been a remarkable revival of the Netherlands' fortunes of late.

Ovidiu Hategan Virgil van Dijk Netherlands 2018

The Dutch were in a state of disarray after missing out on qualification for the World Cup, leading to Ronald Koeman's arrival as manager.

Koeman quickly installed Van Dijk as the Netherlands' new captain and also introduced a number of talented young stars into the national team.

And the 1988 European Championship winners confirmed that they are well and truly on the up after beating France 2-0 before drawing with Germany in the space of three days.