Back in 2012, the Dutchman underwent a life-threatening surgery on a burst appendix.

If a question is asked as to who is the best defender in the Premier League at the moment, ‘Virgil van Dijk’ would be the first answer to come out from any person who is a neutral observer of English football.

Van Dijk, who signed for Liverpool in the winter transfer window of 2018, has been a commanding figure at the back for the Reds since his very first game. Such is the impact of the Dutchman on the Reds’ backline that in his presence they have managed to keep 16 clean sheets, the most in the League, with seven more games to go.

However, the 27-year-old came up with a surprise revelation stating he was on the doorstep of death a few years ago. According to reports from The Mirror, van Dijk revealed that he underwent a life-threatening surgery on a burst appendix in 2012 while he was at Groningen.

The problem was detected just before his side’s derby game against Heerenveen and what followed was simply a nightmare for the Netherlands international. Van Dijk spent a course of 13 nights at the hospital before eventually undergoing the said surgery.

Thanks to the big man’s good physique that he survived the operation, much to the relief of his mother Ruby. Nevertheless, he had to miss the rest of the season for recovery.

Shortly after stepping back onto the pitch, van Dijk signed for Scottish giants Celtic in the summer of 2013 and after spending a couple of seasons there, he eventually landed in Southampton.


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Recalling the days during his surgery, van Dijk says, “I looked death in the eye – and it was a terrible experience.”

“For the first time in my life, football meant nothing to me. It was not important at all. This was all about trying to stay alive. My mother and I were both praying to God and, to be honest, we were discussing various scenarios,” he added.

Reports from The Mirror state that the player underwent a lot of mental stress and that he also wrote a will which allowed part of his money to be given to his mother, if he died. “I couldn’t do anything for at least 10 days, I couldn’t walk. When I walked for the first time, I did 10 metres and was breathing like crazy.”

“After a month, I started training with the physios to get my muscles back. After that I played a full season and went to Celtic.”

It is inspiring to know how even after a tragic event like such, van Dijk managed to impress his critics once stepping back on the pitch. He delivered during his time at Celtic and he delivered during his time at Southampton.

Now while he is at Liverpool, he is in superb shape and is leading the team from the back in their charge for the league title. Little can anyone imagine the terrible things van Dijk has gone through from his performances and everyone is hopeful he continues to be the talisman for the Merseysiders until the end of the season.