Remembering Virgil van Dijk's sublime defending against Kylian Mbappe in 2018


Virgil van Dijk has established himself as arguably the best defender in the world.

The Liverpool and Netherlands centre-back is playing the position at a ridiculously high level right now, making life difficult for most strikers he comes up against.

“I've said it many times, I hate him,” Watford striker Troy Deeney said in 2018, per the Daily Mail. “I hate going up against him.”

Meanwhile, Brighton’s Glenn Murray has admitted: “He treated me like a 12-year-old boy. He just moves you out of the way.”

Indeed, even world-class players have had testing moments against Van Dijk.

Back in 2018, Van Dijk faced France’s Kylian Mbappe during a UEFA Nations League encounter.

Mbappe wasn’t shut out on the night - he scored in the first half in a 2-1 France win - but he was prevented from scoring a second thanks to some incredible defending from Van Dijk.

The PSG star was sent through with just Van Dijk standing in his way.

The Liverpool defender showed great composure to stand Mbappe up and made a brilliant tackle at the right moment.

It was expert defending, and evidence of Van Dijk’s talent.

He dealt with one of the world’s hottest talents with ease, refusing to panic where some others might have done and then showing superb timing to dispossess Mbappe.


Hopefully we get to see more meetings between Van Dijk and Mbappe in the future.

The pair came head-to-head for their clubs in the Champions League group stage in 2018.

Van Dijk couldn’t keep Mbappe off the scoresheet when the sides met at Anfield, although a late goal from Roberto Firmino sealed a 3-2 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Mbappe and PSG prevailed 2-1 in the return fixture in Paris, although the young France striker wasn’t fully fit and didn’t score.

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