Jurgen Klopp’s emphasis on team-building highlighted in classy Virgil van Dijk referee gesture

20 November 2018

Virgil van Dijk‘s human side has come to the fore after a touching video of him comforting a referee emerged on social media.


Van Dijk was the Netherlands’ hero on Monday night, in a memorable UEFA Nations League clash away to bitter rivals Germany.

Needing a draw to reach next summer’s semi-finals, Ronald Koeman’s side recovered from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 in the dying seconds and it was Van Dijk’s superbly-taken volley that levelled the scores.

While his happiness was clear at the final whistle, the 27-year-old also had other things on his mind, as he walked towards referee Ovidiu Hategan.

Van Dijk shared a warm embrace with the official, with Hategan clearly emotional afterwards, wiping tears away from his eyes.

It has since emerged that he recently lost his mother, with Van Dijk clearly aware of the situation and making sure to pay his respects.

“He told me his mom recently passed away. He broke down and started crying. I consoled him and told him he refereed well. Its a small thing, but I hope it helped,” said Van Dijk.

“I wished him strength and said that he had done well.”

It is a touching moment and one that again highlights Jurgen Klopp‘s preference for signing not only great footballers, but great human beings.

Having a good heart and putting other people first is something Klopp has always championed and Van Dijk has displayed that side of his character to perfection.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 27, 2018: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp and captain Virgil van Dijk after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Cardiff City FC at Anfield. Liverpool 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Jurgen creates a family. We always say: 30 per cent tactic, 70 per cent teambuilding,” coach Pepijn Lijnders told De Volksrant last year.

Klopp has often spoken about his players not just in terms of technical ability, but in more humane, personable terms: ‘a good person,’ ‘very humble’ and so on.

It’s this approach which makes the current side not just easy to admire, but gives them strength to fight for each other and to believe they can go the distance.

Holland’s draw means they will take part in the UEFA Nations League finals next June, along with England, Portugal and Switzerland.

That means a host of Liverpool players are likely to be involved, from Joe Gomez to Xherdan Shaqiri.

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