Virgil van Dijk was questioned over his stance about playing too many games and it led to a ridiculous interrogation over salary sacrifices – it ended as you would imagine!
The Liverpool captain has been very forthcoming on the topic of players being overplayed and it having a negative and prolonged impact on their fitness.
Van Dijk is integral for Liverpool and his country and it is rare he is afforded a break, but some are led to believe the money players get paid mitigates any conversation on the topic.
The Reds’ No. 4 was not accepting of this idea, though, after he made comments regarding the hectic English football schedule and how players “should start saying something.”
“In England we think the schedules are too busy. Players are well paid but this should never be to the detriment of our health,” Van Dijk said during a presser conference ahead of the Netherlands’ match against France.
“We have to play more and more matches. As players we should start saying something, contribute to a solution.”
• Why was your first response 'no?'
Van Dijk: "Because it shouldn't depend on my salary?"
• But the money of the club, is earned by you guys.
Van Dijk: "I don't think having to play less games depends on my salary?
• But playing all these games is the reason your club… pic.twitter.com/lhzQmNsqyn
— ??? ???? ? (@TheEuropeanLad) October 12, 2023
Van Dijk’s comments led to a ridiculous line of questioning from journalist Valentijn Driessen, who asked the centre-back about sacrificing part of his salary for a quieter schedule.
“No, I am not prepared to give up 10 percent,” Van Dijk replied, via Sportnieuws, on whether he wanted to give up part of his salary for playing fewer games.
“I don’t think that should depend on my salary,” the defender added when pressed further. “You are now trying to get me to say something nice.
“The Nations League that comes with it, for example, does not go to my salary. We get bonuses, but that is not a guarantee.”
It is quite bizarre that a player concerned about playing too many games and thus potentially shortening their career is pressed so insistently on how much money they are making.
So, do they get a pay rise when more games get added to the schedule? We think not.
It takes away from the real issue at hand which is players picking up injuries more frequently to leave clubs and nations without options, and the product FIFA is intent on ‘selling’ reduces in quality as a result.
Seemingly asking for better player welfare is a step too far, but it is something Jurgen Klopp has been speaking up for since time immemorial.
“There must be one meeting where they [FIFA, the Premier League, the FA] all talk to each other and the only subject should be the most important part of this game, the players,” Klopp said back in August.