The Liverpool star says he holds no grudges after losing his world’s most expensive defender tag to the Manchester United centre-back
Van Dijk became the most expensive defender of all-time when he joined Liverpool from Southampton for £75 million ($98m) in January 2018.
The Netherlands international has justified that huge price tag since his arrival at Anfield, helping the club win a sixth European Cup while also picking up UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup winners’ medals.
He did, however, see his record beaten when Maguire left Leicester City to join United for £80 million ($104m) back in August, and the England centre-back has quickly proven his leadership qualities in order to earn the captain’s armband at Old Trafford.
The two men will come up against each other for the second time this season when United travel to Anfield on Sunday, with Liverpool looking to protect a 38-game unbeaten run while moving another step closer to a first league title in 30 years.
When asked if he was disappointed to see Maguire’s transfer fee gazump his own ahead of the heavyweight Premier League clash, Van Dijk told reporters: “No, good luck to him.
“There was always going to be a time when that was going to change, because that’s the market.
“He doesn’t have any influence on that. We players don’t have any effect on the price and it’s the same for him as it was for me. But the price does come with pressure.
“I thought it wouldn’t change too much for him because at Man United there’s always a lot of pressure anyway – there is at all the big clubs.”
A number of fans and experts questioned Liverpool’s decision to spend so much money on Van Dijk initially, given his lack of experience at the highest level, but he is now considered to be one of the greatest signings in Premier League history.
Maguire’s move to Old Trafford also raised a few eyebrows, but Van Dijk says the simplest way to silence critics is to focus on getting “the maximum out of yourself” on the pitch.
“What can you do? I’m not listening! It doesn’t really change anything in my head,” he said.
“I just like to perform the best way I can and sometimes it comes with mistakes, we can all make mistakes, but you try to be as good as you can and get the maximum out of yourself.
“You just have to do what you love to do and play your best game, get your qualities out on the pitch, help the team. Enjoy all that and don’t think about the other things.”
Van Dijk added on how he deals with the pressure of expectations at Liverpool as they fight for silverware on multiple fronts: “It’s not easy to completely shut off all the pressure but personally I like to put things in perspective.
“I know that a quite lot of things are more important than playing football. We’re all blessed that we can do what we love to do.
“To play for Liverpool, such a big club, and with all the support we get, is special. You need to enjoy it, even though the pressure will always be there.”