Marco van Basten criticized Virgil van Dijk for his actions during the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw with Ecuador. And according to Liverpool’s no. 4, it “triggered” him.
Van Dijk is leading his nation in his first major competition at the World Cup. But things haven’t gone as smoothly as he had intended.
Following a 2-0 triumph against Senegal, the Netherlands battled for consistency against Ecuador, with Enner Valencia canceling out Cody Gakpo’s first goal.
Valencia’s equalizer came in the 49th minute. And Liverpool’s No. 4 received harsh criticism from Van Basten following the tie because it appeared that he had drawn off and given Valencia a free shot on goal.
According to Dutch folklore, Van Dijk was “simply waiting” rather than stopping Valencia. And “[he] is the best, but does the least in terms of initiative,” the narrative continued.
It is a common complaint of the 31-year-performance olds since returning from a severe injury. As some Liverpool fans also believe that he has lowered his intensity.
Van Dijk shoots back at criticisms over Netherlands draw against Ecuador
However, in response to Van Basten’s remarks, Van Dijk stated in an interview with AD that he perceived them as “an attack on me as a person.”
“It felt a bit like an attack on me as a person, on my role as a leader. I thought that at such a moment, so shortly after the game, well…that just triggered me. I’m only human.
That Van Basten says I should have put more pressure on the ball for that goal, that I did too little? Fine. Those are football moments. We must also be critical. I know very well when I make a mistake or when I can do something better.
In the buildup, the left and right centre-backs are perhaps even more important.
And rightly so: Nathan Ake is left-footed, and Jurrien Timber is also very good on the ball. In my role I often have the striker in front of me, and I am the lock on the door.
I feel very comfortable with that, I really do, but it is a slightly different role.”