Football News

Why Virgil van Dijk is the player Erling Haaland hates facing most

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:33, 10 March 2020

Erling Braut Haaland has named Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as the player he hates facing the most.

The Norwegian youngster has made an electric start to life with Borussia Dortmund since joining from Red Bull Salzburg in January, scoring 12 goals in 10 games across all competitions.

What makes Van Dijk the ultimate defender? Five things to know…

  • Haaland scored one of his 10 Champions League goals this season against Liverpool in October.
  • But the Norwegian has still identified Van Dijk as the defender he hates facing the most.
  • Van Dijk finished second only to Lionel Messi in the voting for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
  • The Dutchman has won more aerial duels (26) than any other defender in this season’s Champions League.
  • Van Dijk has been dribbled past by an opponent just once and has completed a competition-high 548 passes so far.


Before switching to the German club, Haaland had already netted 28 goals in 22 games for Salzburg — including one against Liverpool at Anfield back in October.

However, despite managing to breach Jurgen Klopp’s defence, Haaland says Van Dijk has all the qualities of a perfect defender.

“Van Dijk. He is so good,” Haaland responded when asked by France Football what kind of defender he hates facing.

“He is powerful, quick, he possesses all the qualities. He is an incredible player.”

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Such has been his remarkable form, Haaland is already being talked up for a move away from Dortmund in the summer, with many feeling he is merely using the club as a stepping stone for bigger things.

However, the 19-year-old has rebuffed these suggestions, insisting he’s happy where he is and excited to bring success to Dortmund.

“I have just arrived. I am very happy here. I want to achieve many things,” he added.

“I am only concentrating on that. The stadium here gives me goosebumps, and I feel well here.”

Haaland has scored 10 goals in this season’s Champions League — only Robert Lewandowski (11) has netted more — and will hope to carry that form into Dortmund’s round-of-16 second-leg tie against PSG on Wednesday.

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