Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk drops cryptic retirement hint in emotional message about future

Virgil van Dijk of The Netherlands reacts after losing the match during the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-final match between Netherlands and England at Football Stadium Dortmund
-Credit: (Image: Inaki Esnaola/Getty Images))

Virgil van Dijk hasn’t ruled out international retirement in an emotional message about his future for both club and country.

The Liverpool captain suffered a last-minute semi-final defeat at Euro 2024 on Wednesday night as a last-gasp strike from Ollie Watkins earned England a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands to set up a final meeting with Spain in Berlin.

While Reds team-mate Cody Gakpo has been one of the stars of the tournament, Van Dijk has faced heavy criticism back in his homeland for his performances in Germany, though in truth, such scrutiny has accompanied his international career for years.

READ MORE: Arne Slot suffers first disappointment as Liverpool head coach as internal talks scheduled

READ MORE: Liverpool signed best young player in the world in club-record deal

Meanwhile, he remains out of contract at Anfield next summer with his future uncertain as a result, even though head coach Arne Slot has confirmed he is under the impression that the 33-year-old wants to stay put.

An emotional Van Dijk was asked about his future following Netherlands’ loss to England, as the centre-back admitted he has some tough thinking to do after a challenging season.

“After such a season, where all sorts of things happened and also such a tournament where all sorts of things happened, where I myself also got all sorts of things thrown at me, then this just hurts,” he admitted to reporters.

“I do everything to win and then it gets emotional at the end, because you know it's over. I have no idea at the moment (about my future). I will think carefully this summer about what I want at club level and as an international. Then we will go for it again, but first recover from this.”

Van Dijk has captained the Netherlands since March 2018, and has won 74 international caps to date, leading his country at the 2022 World Cup, Euro 2024 and two Nations League finals tournaments. Yet such comments, while said in the heat of the moment after a last-minute semi-final defeat and off the back of receiving continued criticism, will inevitably prompt doubt about his international future ahead of possible retirement.

Meanwhile, Van Dijk also took to social media to thank supporters in a further emotional message on Thursday morning.

“This hurts. After a long and intense tournament, our journey comes to an end,” he wrote. “I would like to say a huge thank you to our fans who travelled with us, supported us, and have been there for us all the way.

“Time for a well needed break now to reflect and recharge after a year full ups and downs, physically and emotionally. It was a privilege to lead this special group.”