‘The greatest’ – Liverpool star Van Dijk admits love for Milan’s iconic defenders

By Oliver Fisher -

Virgil van Dijk has professed his love for the centre-backs that AC Milan have had throughout their history, ranking Alessandro Nesta above everyone.

Van Dijk is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in modern Premier League history and has been an anchor of the Liverpool back line since his arrival from Southampton in 2018. He has won a Premier League and a Champions League with the Reds, and now wants international glory.

Speaking from the Dutch training camp after they secured qualification for the last 16 of the European Championship, Van Dijk gave an interview to TMW (via Tribuna) in which he was asked about his idols.

“I loved both Nesta and Maldini. That Milan were something completely different. When you talk about Nesta, you mean elegance. He made everything seem so simple. Watching Alessandro’s play was like watching Roger Federer,” he said.

“Players like him showed us, defenders, the way to go. I respect him a lot, as I do all the other Milan defenders, who won European competitions at that time. I learned a lot from each of them. Everyone has their own opinion, but in my opinion, Nesta was the greatest Italian defender.”

We recently wrote a feature looking at Milan’s love affair with players from the Netherlands dating back to the days of the Tre Tulipani and Clarence Seedorf to the present day with Tijjani Reijnders.

He might be 32 and still at the peak of his powers, but could Van Dijk potentially be tempted to join his compatriot along with the likes of Mats Wieffer and Joshua Zirkzee? Time will tell.

Tags AC Milan Virgil van Dijk


  1. If Nesta was in the team today he would already be sold to PSG or Newcastle…

    Off topic but yesterday was Paolo Maldini’s birthday. Théo wished him his birthday on IG. Clearly someone that was highly respected. Auguri Capitano!

    1. Wrong, we haven’t even come close to a player of that calibre, even Donnarumma isn’t on the level of Abbiati so no. Just stop it,if you want to complain go spread your negativity somewhere else, you clearly don’t love the club, you have some toxic relationship with it. If you can’t appreciate the state we are currently in then I don’t know, a couple of seasons ago we all thought there won’t be 2 teams in the City for long and here you’re talking a bunch of rubbish like this.

      1. The love for the club, not necessarily have to agreeing / liking the club owner /directors & their policy.
        And everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
        Not all fans have the same views as you.

      2. Donnarumma not at the level of Abbiati?

        Donnarumma is on the same level as Buffon. He was a regular started from 15 or 16yo. He took the spot of Pepe Reina.

        He is THE best keeper in the world at the moment and has been for the last 3 or 4 years.

        1. He is way better than Abbiati but no way on the same level as Buffon.
          The only reason he is one of the best goalkeepers today is the amount of injuries and the aging of the likes of Neuer, Courtois,… I have some french friends who follow the PSG very well and they consider him to be a scam.
          He makes a lot of silly mistakes for such a high level keeper and his foot game is terrible.

          1. Interesting how they label him a “scam”. All of those issues you mention were evident even when he played with us. Instead, they should take responsibility and blame their club for too easily overpaying for players. Paying Donnarumma 10m per year or whatever is on PSG, not the player. The only scam is how PSG circumvents FFP.

      3. Well I’m curious to know from someone with a sane relationship with the club what is so exciting these days? Thinking about the third star like Zlatan said? Théo saying in press conference that he could leave? The season pass increasing in price by 19%? The circus around Zirkee the almighty 12-goal scorer that we’ll miss after one month of “monitoring”? Domestic opponents like Inter, Juventus or Napoli getting stronger every day? Hiring Paulo Fonseca as the coach?

      4. Love of the club and love of a transitory owner are 2 very different things

        Understand the difference before you make blanket statements

  2. Nesta Maldini was just the best combo ever. Nesta, at a point in time was undisputed best centre half in the world circa mid 2000s. He was just on a whole different level. Anytime I saw a striker go up against him I just knew he’d get the ball. I always used to tease my bro saying “don’t worry Nesta is there” 🤭 when he went up against players 1v1, esp during the man Utd matches before 2008. Great times

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