Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk says he wants to give coach Louis van Gaal “a World Cup to never forget” in Qatar later this year.
The ex-Manchester United boss, 70, told Dutch TV on Sunday he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.
Van Gaal did not tell his players during the recent international break, but Van Dijk said they are “going to be there for him”.
“I was also in shock last night,” he said on Monday.
Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk, 30, added: “I messaged him after the interview – it definitely says a lot about him.
“I said to him as well, he’s probably not that type of guy that needs a lot of sympathy, that’s how he is.”
Van Gaal began his third spell as Netherlands coach last August, having previously failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, before leading them to a third-place finish in 2014.
The Dutch are unbeaten in nine games since the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss returned and they qualified for Qatar 2022 as winners of their group.
Van Dijk said: “I told him as well that we are definitely going to be there for him as a group whenever he needs it – and hopefully we can also make it, for him, a World Cup to never forget.” (BBC)