Virgil van Dijk revealed his admiration for former AC Milan and Italy defender Paolo Maldini, particularly for his style of play and longevity.
The Liverpool centre-back has earned comparisons with the current Rossoneri director from the British press and Reds fans online but the Dutchman had no interest in diminishing the reputation of the iconic former defender.
“The respect I have for him is incredible, obviously he is a football legend,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
“You know, it was incredible the way he played and what he achieved playing for Milan for so long.”
Van Dijk did not play when Liverpool defeated AC Milan 2-1 in the final Group B match of the 2021/22 Champions League but he was still able to meet Maldini in person and had a jersey autographed by the Italian great.
“I just wanted to thank him,” he said. “During my injury, I was collecting shirts and I had his own shirt that he signed for me.
“I wanted to think about him again and asked him how he was doing. Legend, legend and respect.”
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