Celtic Park

Next Game

Celtic v Rangers

Sunday, 01 February 2015, 13:30

Scot League Cup Semi-Final

Last Game

Ross Co 0 - 1 Celtic

Saturday, 24 January 2015, 12:45

Scots Prem

Van Dijk: Barca brought me joy

Celtic defender Virgil Van Dijk admits he has always been fascinated by Barcelona's style as his side prepare to take on the Spanish giants in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Last Updated: 01/10/13 at 10:41 Post Comment

Virgil Van Dijk: Grew up with a Barcelona love affair

Virgil Van Dijk: Grew up with a Barcelona love affair

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Despite an array of Dutchmen donning Barcelona colours over the years, with Johan Neeskens, Johan Cruyff and Frank Rijkaard all making headlines, it was the Brazilian talent which first attracted Van Dijk.

The 22-year-old centre-back grew up wanting to emulate the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo as he practised on the streets of Breda.

"I watched Barcelona a lot when I was younger and not just for the Dutch players," he told the Daily Record. "It was the Brazilian players I watched most. They brought so much joy and fun.

"I was a really big fan of Ronaldinho. He was a fabulous football player and I liked to try to recreate his actions when I played on the streets as a kid.

World class

Barcelona are without the services of three-time Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi for the Glasgow meeting but Van Dijk insists there is still an abundance of quality to restrict.

"Messi is a world-class player and will be a big miss but they have enough good players to fill in for him," he added. "Neymar is also world class but you have to believe in yourself.

"I can have respect for all of them but I'll show it after the game. During the game you have to be strong because it is going to be a big night and a tough night."

Van Dijk was only spectator last year as Celtic produced a shock 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Celtic Park - and is relishing the opportunity to sample the atmosphere this time round.

"We know how Barcelona play and we know they love to play on possession. We need to use set-pieces and work hard defensively," he added.

Belief

"The first impression I had watched the game was from the fans - the atmosphere was fantastic. It was unbelievable, even on TV. You could see how big Celtic was and now I'm playing here, it's even bigger.

"Having the fans behind you for every minute and every second of the game is so important."

Although Van Dijk is one of a number of changes in the Celtic squad since that historic victory, the Netherlands Under-21 international insists there is plenty of confidence in the camp.

"We have belief and I think the players who won last year have even more belief than the new players.

"Everything is new for us but we have trained and spoken about it so we know what we are capable of and I think there's a chance we can get another good result.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

O

ne of the conclusions from this list is that Man City should never buy a striker in January - good luck Wilfried Bony....

Savinator
F365's Top Ten Worst January Panic Buys

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea reach final as Branislav Ivanovic's goal sinks Liverpool

Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool and a place in the Capital One Cup final.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company