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‘VAN DIJK COULD PLAY FOR REAL MADRID OR BARCA,’ INSISTS LENNON

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FORMER Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk is good enough to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, according to ex-Hoops boss Neil Lennon.

Lennon signed the classy Dutch international for just £1.9million from Dutch side Groningen in the summer of 2013.

Van Dijk won back-to-back Premiership titles and the League Cup during his two years at Parkhead before joining Southampton in a £13million deal.

The Dutch ace has now become one of the most sought-after players in the Premier League, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City linked with £70million bids during the summer transfer window.

Hibs gaffer Lennon believes the 25-year-old stopper has what it takes to play at Europe’s top clubs, including La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
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When asked if Van Dijk can become the best defender in the world, Lennon replied: “Yes.

“I think he could play for Barcelona, I think he could play for Real Madrid. It wouldn’t surprise me if he took his career on to those pathways.

“The first day he came into Celtic I pulled him to one side after training and said: ‘You enjoy yourself here because you’re not going to be here long’.

“I couldn’t believe we got him for £1.9million. He was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that none of the big clubs took a bite at him before Southampton.

“I believe he could play at any club side in Europe now – he’s that good. He’s only 25, he’s got 10 years in him.

“He has got everything you want from a modern-day centre-half. He’s powerful, he’s quick, technically brilliant, he reads the game well, superb in the air.

“So it doesn’t surprise me that the big clubs are coming in now – it’s just surprising that they have waited so long.”

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