Virgil van Dijk has named Olivier Giroud as his toughest opponent.
The pair have faced off 12 times across several different competitions at both club and international levels with Van Dijk representing Southampton, Liverpool and the Netherlands while Giroud turned out for Arsenal, Chelsea and France.
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Across those meetings, the Dutch centre-back has tasted four victories to Giroud’s ten. Van Dijk and the French marksman last met in a Premier League showdown between Liverpool and Chelsea in May 2020 when the Reds ran out 5-3 winners.
AC Milan’s current ‘number nine’ got on the scoresheet that day, the sixth time he’s netted past Van Dijk, and chances of them meeting again is a possibility with both still active in the Champions League and Les Bleus and Oranje potentially meeting in the quarter-final or final at the upcoming World Cup finals.
Speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap he was asked to name his most difficult opponent before giving an unlikely answer but with good reason.
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“Funnily enough, [Olivier] Giroud,” he said.
“I always felt like I got him, but somehow, he always managed to score. Whether it was for Arsenal, Chelsea or France, he always scored.
“I said to him when we won the league, we won 5-2 we were 3-0 up or something and he scored a scrappy goal, I think it was against the crossbar and fell down, scrappy goal, I said to him: ‘You scored again?!’
“So I would say he is the guy that scores against me, and just that annoying person. There’s so many fantastic strikers I’ve played against, Messi, [Sergio] Aguero, [Erling] Haaland is a difficult one because he has everything, but I’m going for Giroud as he’s my bogeyman – annoying!”