Better than Vidic? Five reasons Premier League fraud Virgil van Dijk couldn’t lace his boots

Jason Soutar
Virgil van Dijk and Nemanja Vidic

Jamie Carragher has caused quite a stir on social media following his blasphemous claim that Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is ‘far better’ than Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic.

The basis of Carragher’s argument was Vidic’s ‘performances against Fernando Torres’ – the same Torres that scored three times in 15 matches against the Serbian. That is the same amount of goals as Vidic managed Premier League titles in that time.

Not only is Van Dijk unfit to lace Vidic’s boots, but the bloody fraud is nowhere near being one of the best central defenders in Premier League history, and here’s why…


1) He hasn’t won enough
Vidic has five Premier League titles, three League Cups and one Champions League to his name. Van Dijk has one Premier League, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one Champions League. Four major trophies?! Don’t make me laugh. Do you know who else won four major trophies while playing for an English club? Robert Huth. Three of those four were league titles, by the way, which counts a lot more than a domestic cup.

The argument should end after this point alone really. Rio Ferdinand won six league titles, three League Cups and a Champions League. Sol Campbell? Seven trophies, including one with Portsmouth and one with Spurs. Spurs! I’d like to see Van Dijk try that.

You also have serial winners Tony Adams and John Terry, whose success leaves Van Dijk with egg on his face. Arsenal legend Adams won the European Cup Winners’ Cup, which Van Dijk hasn’t even managed to play in. Pathetic.

If you are wondering why Van Dijk’s three trophies with Celtic aren’t getting a mention, give your head a wobble. This is all about Our League. Not that sh*te north of the border.


2) Once the aura was gone, he has been exposed
For some bizarre reason, Van Dijk was able to heavily rely on the fact players did everything in their power to avoid taking on the big Dutchman. Van Dijk went a whole season without being taken on, which is quite impressive until you realise he was purposely running away from attackers, the big scaredy cat.

Liverpool were a brilliant team with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino at the peak of their powers. As soon as Firmino became a bit injury-prone and Mane left, they turned out to be a bit sh*t. It is no coincidence that Van Dijk is having a torrid time now he actually has to do some defending.

Any ‘aura’ he had is now gone. As opposed to trying to stop the pass, he encouraged Federico Valverde to find Vinicius Junior at the back post in last year’s Champions League final, which ultimately cost Liverpool the game. Van Dijk’s lazy and arrogant style of play has been a huge contributing factor to his downfall this season after he gave us a little taster against Real Madrid last May.

£72m superstar Nicolas Pepe was one of the few to have the cojones to run at Van Dijk and he successfully took him on at the first attempt. Makes you think.


3) He lacks the defensive edge
In the dictionary, the word ‘defender’ should have a picture of John Terry or Phil Jones dolphin diving to block a ball with his face next to it. Ever seen Van Dijk do anything like that in his life? Didn’t think so.

Even if this is the modern game, there is more to being a centre-back than being big, good-looking, smelling good and being sound with the ball at your feet. Yes, Van Dijk is a fine footballer, but is he a ruthless, rock-solid defender worthy of being on the Mount Rushmore of Barclays centre-backs? And that is the issue right there: that would be an insult. We don’t like the tippy-tappy stuff nowadays and Van Dijk is setting the wrong example for the next generation. We need more nutcases and less technically gifted footballers.

Defending is all about bravery. It is all about putting your body on the line and your head where no-one else dares to do so. Has Van Dijk nearly swallowed his tongue after eating an opposition player’s boot? Of course he hasn’t. No chance he would scream, ‘Let’s f**king kill em!’ before punching a wall before a game like Gary Wackett: a proper defender. Nor would he headbutt a wall to get fired up like Martin Skrtel and Jaap Stam surely did before every game.

Van Dijk Fabinho


4) Vidic’s biggest foe was Torres, Van Dijk’s is Antony Martial
It should be an honour to eat grass as Fernando Torres runs through on goal. No true defender can retire a happy man without doing this at some point in their career. Being put in a spin cycle by an Anthony Martial turn, on the other hand, is simply embarrassing. In fact, the second-hand embarrassment is making me barf.

No words can do this horrible piece of defending justice. Just watch. Terry could never.


5) He hasn’t had the biggest ‘impact’ on a team
Carragher thinks no other centre-back in Premier League history has had such a huge impact on a team as Van Dijk did for Liverpool. Ha.

He joined the Reds in January 2018 and they did reach a Champions League final, in fairness. They didn’t win it, but fair play, mate. Van Dijk joined a team doing well with new signing Mohamed Salah starring. The young lad Andy Robertson was also doing quite well having just joined from Hull. People act like Van Dijk was the final piece of the puzzle. He wasn’t. Jurgen Klopp went out and spent £60m on a new goalkeeper and £40m on a defensive midfielder after the Champions League final defeat.

We haven’t got all day to compare Van Dijk’s supposed impact to a bunch of other Premier League central defenders, but focusing on Vidic alone completely debunks Carragher’s logic.

Manchester United were without a title win in three years and then won the league in five out of the next seven seasons following the arrival of Vidic. In the two seasons they didn’t win, the big Serb only featured in 25 games or less. Oh, and he was named Premier League Player of the Season twice and was in the Premier League Team of the Season four times in that period.

It is no coincidence that United’s most successful period of this century came when Vidic was fit and available for them. The first year he failed to win the title, United lost four out of the 14 games he missed, while they lost two of the 24 he played.

Now that is what you call an impact.

(Please for the love of all that’s holy, don’t think this incredibly sound point makes this article a serious one.)