Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is one of the biggest and best players in the Premier League.
The Dutchman has made quite an impact since arriving in England in 2015, excelling at Southampton and helping Liverpool win numerous trophies, including their first league title in 30 years.
The defender is currently out through injury but upon his return you’ll notice he doesn’t have his last name on the back of his shirt.
The 31-year-old never revealed the reason for the absence, but after some research we found it.
According to his maternal uncle Steven Fo Sieeuw, Van Djik dropped his middle name because of a family dispute.
“His father separated from his mother and three children, including Virgil,” Fo Sieeuw told The Sun in 2018.
“The truth is that his father was not around for so many important years and it is his mother who is the real hero of this story.”
It is understood that Van Dijk’s siblings also dropped their middle names.
“You don’t take your father’s name off your shirt for no reason and Virgil has made it very clear how he feels,” Fo Sieeuw continued.
“Ron [Van Dijk] is a nice guy but you have to be more than that to be a good dad. You need to be there for your children. Ron remarried and his new wife was very overbearing, so he didn’t see his children much.
“I feel sorry for Virgil, it’s like he was caught in the crossfire.”
Van Dijk isn’t the only footballer to play with just his first name on the back of his shirt.
Former Tottenham star Dele Alli dropped his surname in 2016, saying he didn’t feel connected to it. Van Dijk’s compatriot Memphis Depay did the same for family reasons.
Although the Liverpool centre-back has never dwelt on his childhood troubles, he has opened up about the role religion played in his youth.
“When I was younger I went to church every Sunday, and then when I got older I quit,” he said, as quoted by talkSPORT.
“But sometimes I pray and I feel that it helped me through difficult times.”
Last night Liverpool, without Van Dijk, qualified for the FA Cup fourth round with a comfortable win at Wolves.
After a lengthy pre-match broadcast on the BBC, the Reds easily won 1-0 thanks to a Harvey Elliott goal, closing in on the trophy they won last May.
Van Djik should be back in a few weeks.