The Liverpool defender knows a thing or two about playing against the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Virgil van Dijk has warned the Netherlands a ‘good plan’ is necessary when going up against Lionel Messi, who is a danger even when he is ‘chilling’.
Van Dijk and Messi will meet again for the third time in their respective careers on Friday when the Netherlands play Argentina in a World Cup quarter-final clash at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
Their last encounter came in a two-legged Champions League semi-final tie between Barcelona and Liverpool in 2019, which the latter won 4-3 on aggregate after a stunning 4-0 comeback win in the second leg.
“The difficult thing about him is when we are attacking, he is chilling somewhere in a corner or something,” Van Dijk said of Messi.
“You have to be so very sharp in terms of defensive organization. They always looked for him to try to make it difficult for us on the counter.
“It is an honor to play against him. It is not me against him or the Netherlands against him, but the Netherlands against Argentina. No one can do it on his own, we will have to come up with a good plan.”
The last match between the Netherlands and Argentina was in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals. The tie finished 0-0 after extra time, before Argentina won 4-2 on penalties to progress to the final.