Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk believes that Barcelona legend Lionel Messi should win the Ballon d’Or this year, irrespective of the fact that the Argentine could not make it into the Champions League finals.
“I think Messi is the best player in the world. He should win the Ballon d’Or. So I’m not thinking of that. But if I win, I’ll take it. Messi should win it though. He is the best in the world, whether he’s in the final or not,” van Dijk was quoted as saying by Miguel Delaney, chief reporter of The Independent.
Van Dijk: "I think Messi is the best player in the world. He should win the Ballon D'Or. So I'm not thinking of that. But if I win, I'll take it. Messi should win it though. He is the best in the world, whether he's in the final or not."
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 1, 2019
Van Dijk is definitely a contender for the Ballon d’Or this year, thanks to a terrific season – the icing on the cake being his Champions League success. The Dutch defender was one of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s most preferred choices in the starting XI and was an absolute rock in defence. An impressive run by Manchester City in the Premier League meant that Liverpool had to finish as runners-up – falling short of the title by just one point. They were hence determined to make it big in the Champions League.
Liverpool entered the UCL finals beating Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals. All four of Liverpool’s goals were scored in the second-leg match at Anfield, where van Dijk himself played an important role. His involvement at the back prevented Messi and his cohorts from scoring even a single away goal and that proved costly for the Catalans.
The Reds won the final on Saturday against Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to an early penalty goal by Mohamed Salah and a late finish from Divock Origi. This was Liverpool’s sixth Champions League win overall and their first win in fourteen years, having last won the title in 2005.