Richarlison Takes Big Dig at Virgil van Dijk Ahead of Merseyside Derby

Jun 19, 2020, 10:45 AM GMT+1
Virgil van Dijk, Richarlison
Richarlison and Virgil van Dijk will go head-to-head on Sunday | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Football rivalries are great. They're feisty, passionate, they give us all a (generally) harmless outlet for tribalism. It's even better when the players really buy into the spirit of them too, getting riled up on the pitch and fuelling the fires with big words in the buildup.

Anyway, Richarlison's been doing some talking...

The Brazilian's pointed remarks come ahead of Everton's home clash with Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Sunday, a match that, should the Reds win, will put them within three points of a maiden Premier League title.

The Toffees, on the other hand, don't just need three points for pride's sake, but also as they chase an unlikely European berth this season.

If they are to have any hope of that, then they'll need Richarlison to be on top form, and in an apparent effort to give himself an added edge at Goodison Park, he's made a rather bold claim about PFA Player of the Year, UEFA Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or runner-up Van Dijk.

"People talk a lot about him [Van Dijk], yes he is a great defender but I’ve already dribbled past him," the Everton forward told Brazilian YouTube channel Desimpedidos, in a video titled 'Richarlison names three defenders better than Van Dijk'.

"He was chosen as one of the top three in the world as he had an excellent season. But yes, for me there are better defenders."

Van Dijk and Richarlison the last time Everton met Liverpool | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

So who are the three defenders he ranks higher? Well, Sergio Ramos gets a shout, as do fellow Brazilians Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.

The nod for Silva is particularly interesting, with rumours swirling around about Carlo Ancelotti eyeing a move for the soon-to-be free agent. A gentle nudge from Richarlison, perhaps?

Nevertheless, what's been said is clearly a ploy to spice up what will be a unique Merseyside derby without any fans in attendance. Truth be told, Everton will need all the help they can get if history is anything to go by, having not beaten Liverpool in any competition since 2010 - when Richarlison was 13.

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