Jurgen Klopp made a fitting case on why Virgil van Dijk deserves to win the 2019 Balon d’Or award.
Liverpool went on to win the Champions League under the German and Van Dijk was probably their best player throughout the 2018/19 campaign.
The Dutchman, who arrived on a £75m transfer from Southampton two years back completely changed the face of the Liverpool backline. With him leading the defence, Liverpool found their identity going forward while also holding off top quality opposition.
Van Dijk is widely regarded as the best defender in the world and many including Klopp believes he should be rewarded for it. But to the contrary, Lionel Messi had one of his best seasons last year even by his own remarkable standards.
The Barcelona forward scored an astonishing 51 goals and laid out 22 assists in 50 games last term. He almost singlehandedly pulled Barcelona to the semi-finals of Champions League and the top of the La Liga before falling short against Liverpool in the Anfield draw. The only thing stopping the Argentine from graspin his sixth Balon d’Or might be the ultimate trophy, the one Klopp’s men upstaged him to.
Klopp said: “If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of this generation, then you can give it always to Lionel Messi, that’s how it is. But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk.
“So I don’t know exactly how it will work, but that’s how I see it. If it’s for the best player of all, then it’s Lionel. The best player of last season, it’s Virgil. We will see.”
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