Virgil van Dijk will miss this summer's European Championships, as the Netherlands captain will not be fit in time for the start of the tournament.
The Liverpool defender is working hard on his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that he suffered on October 17 after a tackle from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Euro 2020, which starts for the Netherlands on June 13 against Ukraine in Amsterdam, comes too early for him.
"It would be my first final tournament for 'Oranje', as captain too," Van Dijk said in a video meassge to fans. "I am very disappointed that I cannot go along, but this is the right decision for me."
Although the absence of Van Dijk is not unexpected, it still is a heavy blow for head coach Frank de Boer and the Dutch team. However, with Internazionale's Stefan de Vrij, Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake of Manchester City and possibly Ajax defender Daley Blind, if he returns from injury in time, De Boer has alternatives for Van Dijk's position in the center of defense.
"Hopefully we will make something beautiful out of it at the European Championship," Van Dijk added. "I will do everything I can to be there again in September for the World Cup qualifying matches."