“He’s on another planet,” Ibrahima Konaté says of Liverpool teammate Virgil Van Dijk
In an extensive interview with Eurosport, France international Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konaté (23) lauded his clubmate Virgil Van Dijk (31).
The Dutch center-back is scheduled to start against Les Bleus at the Stade de France on Friday in the first match of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. Last season, Konaté and Van Dijk formed an excellent relationship in Liverpool’s backline, but not this season, with Jürgen Klopp’s Reds conceding too many goals.
Despite Liverpool’s lack of defensive consistency, Konaté spoke highly of the centre-back who placed second in the 2019 Ballon d’Or rankings. When asked to choose between his French teammate and close friend Dayot Upemacano (24) and Van Dijk, Konaté chuckled. “What exactly is this question?” The two cannot be compared. We are in the same league as Upamecano, despite the fact that he is a formidable opponent. But Van Dijk is on an other world. We are still a long way from matching what he accomplished. “I have no doubt that we will get there one day.”
Konaté went on to describe what he learnt from the former Southampton star, who became the most expensive defender in history after joining Liverpool in 2017 for €80 million. “Leadership, he defends specific guys with such ease.” He has a unique method that is wonderful. His tenacity, his ferocity… We can always sense his aura on the field. I’m really fortunate to be able to play alongside him.”