Ibrahima Konate names role model & claims he wants 'better career' than Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool centre back Ibrahima Konate has claimed his goal is to have a 'better career' than teammate Virgil van Dijk.

The 24-year-old is now in his third season at Liverpool and is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in the world.

However, fitness issues have stopped him from fully establishing himself as a first-choice centre back under Jurgen Klopp. The former RB Leipzig star has yet to play more than 18 league games in a season, and has struggled with a hamstring injury so far in 2023/24.

That knock forced him to drop out of France duty during the last round of international fixtures in September, but he is back in Didier Deschamps' squad for the upcoming clashes against the Netherlands (13 October) and Scotland (17 October).

France defeated Netherlands 4-0 earlier in the Euro 2024 qualification campaign, but speaking to Le Parisien ahead of the showdown with his club captain, Konate revealed he has been told by Van Dijk to expect an 'intense' rematch when they face off in Amsterdam this Friday.

He said: "We are playing big in this match. It's a big match. We saw it in the first leg, they have qualities despite the heavy defeat, we have a qualification to seek. They have a rematch to play, I talk about it with Virgil van Dijk. He told me about a very intense match at home. The Dutch are waiting for us around the corner but we want to finish first in our group. They know we are a good team."

READ MORE: How to watch Liverpool stars on international duty this October

Konate also added that he has learned a lot by playing alongside Van Dijk at Liverpool, but insisted that his plan is to surpass the Dutchman's impressive career achievements – naming a former Real Madrid star as his role model.

He said: "There are very few defenders who have managed to have as good a career as him. I learn a lot alongside him. My goal, and he knows it, is to have a better career than him.

"My number one has long been Sergio Ramos."

In addition to facing up against Van Dijk this month, Konate's France also face Andy Robertson's Scotland in a friendly in Villeneuve-d'Ascq next Tuesday.

Share This Article