Ex-Liverpool star snubs Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, names surprise choice for Ballon d’Or 2019

Ballon d'Or 2019: Didier Drogba chooses Liverpool star over Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo as winner

Former Liverpool star Danny Murphy claimed that it is Virgil van Dijk who deserves the 2019 Ballon d’Or award, although Barcelona legend Lionel Messi is most likely to win the prestigious award for the sixth time in his career.

“For me, the winner is obvious: Virgil van Dijk,” the ex-Liverpool midfielder told talkSPORT in a recent interview.

“I believe that because of the massive impact he’s had on Liverpool Football Club.”

“There are so many facets to him: his leadership qualities have grown, and his influence on others is probably the biggest reason.”

“His impact on the performances of the players around him, especially the back four, is phenomenal.”

“Could Liverpool have won the Champions League without him? I think the answer is no.”

“Of course, when you look at Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, there are loads of big performers. But take Van Dijk out and I really don’t think Liverpool could’ve won it.”

“Obviously, you’re dealing with the best players in the world and when you look at Lionel Messi’s goalscoring record, if he did win it over Van Dijk, you would have to understand why,” Murphy further explained, before concluding:

“But his form didn’t help Barcelona win the Champions League. Usually (nine out of the last 12 years) the winner of the Ballon d’Or comes from the winner of the Champions League. The criteria is there and I don’t see why that should change.”

“The thing about Van Dijk that’s very unique is the fact that you can’t really replace what he brings. If you take out Mane, then Salah could easily win a game for you. Firmino could win a game for you. Divock Origi scored in the final. There are other attacking options.”

Quotes via Goal.