Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has named the toughest opponent he has ever faced in his career.
Speaking on Sky Sports Football’s YouTube channel, he was asked who the toughest forward he has ever faced was.
With almost no hesitation, the Dutchman said it was Lionel Messi.
The Reds star explained that, for him, Messi was still the best player in the world and that the numbers he and Manchester United player Cristiano Ronaldo have done for the last decade are incredible.
He said: “I would say Lionel Messi. I would say he is still the best footballer in the world.
“Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have been doing unreal numbers for the last decade and it’s incredible what they achieve.
“But I would say Messi even in Barcelona when we lost 3-0.”
You can watch the full video below…
During the 3-0 defeat at the Nou Camp that Van Dijk mentioned, Messi scored the third goal of the night with a stunning free-kick.
Ultimately, Liverpool pulled off one of the all-time great comebacks in the Champions League and would go on to beat Tottenham in the final of that year’s competition.
Meanwhile, Messi has since moved away from Barcelona and now plays his football in the French capital with Paris Saint-Germain.
Van Dijk has returned to action this season after suffering a grade three knee ligament injury in October last year, which kept him out for the remainder of last season and forced him to miss Euro 2020 with the National team.
Since his return, Liverpool are unbeaten in all competitions and have kept five clean sheets so far this season.