Manchester City and Norway forward Erling Haaland has showed his admiration for two Liverpool stars within his Ultimate Team on the popular football video game, EA FC 24 (formerly FIFA).
Haaland deliberately picked two players from the Liverpool squad, with one of his selections being none other than the current Liverpool captain, Virgil van Dijk.
Within Haaland’s Ultimate Team, is a mix of world-class players from various periods coexists. Intriguingly, Haaland shares a mutual enthusiasm for EA FC with Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, who frequently engages in online competitions against other players during his leisure hours.
In Haaland’s chosen team, Dominik Szoboszlai, a former Red Bull Salzburg teammate, is among the selected players. The bench boasts renowned football figures such as Ronaldo Nazario, Pele, and Wayne Rooney.
The inclusion of Van Dijk as the center-back in Haaland’s team is unsurprising, given the high esteem the Manchester City striker holds for him. Haaland has previously lauded Van Dijk’s strength and timing, expressing admiration for the 2019 Champions League winner in various media interviews.
Having faced Van Dijk during the Champions League group stages of the 2019/20 season while at Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland was quoted by ESPN saying:
“You know how tall he is, how strong he is and how fast he is and also the timing is crazy. I don’t think I won one duel against him because he’s a physical monster.”
Haaland faced Van Dijk in the Premier League and upheld his admiration for him. When asked to identify the most challenging defender he faced in his inaugural English season, he promptly acknowledged Van Dijk’s prowess.
“There’s many good defenders. I have to say, Liverpool’s Van Dijk is so good,” the 23-year-old told Optus Sport. “I’ve met him many times with the national team and even when I played in Salzburg, he’s really good. That’s who I can think of right now.”
Van Dijk’s presence in his team shouldn’t come as a shock; the Dutchman stands out as the exceptional center-back of his generation.
Although Szoboszlai hasn’t reached the pinnacle of his performance as a Liverpool player, he has displayed promising glimpses. It’s noteworthy that Szoboszlai and Haaland previously played together at Red Bull Salzburg, sharing the field in the memorable 4-3 Champions League match at Anfield.