After a glorious top-flight season for Liverpool and quite possibly the title of the world’s best defender, Virgil van Dijk has conceded that he still does not deserve to win the Balon d’Or.
Plenty of fans, even from other clubs would pick the Dutchman to win the individual honour at the year-end but he believes it should go to Lionel Messi.
Van Dijk played an exceptional game on Saturday night as he led his team through a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Winning the champions league trophy has increased the odds of the £75m signing winning the best player award significantly over Messi.
Looking back at some of the stats from last night’s Madrid duel, Van Dijk managed to win all of his attempted tackles and aerial duels and also made five clearances, one block, all while committing zero fouls.
You cannot ask for a more perfect display from a centre-half but it is his overall impact on this Liverpool team that can surely not be judged simply based on statistics. He single-handedly has cleared out any weakness from the Reds backline and has proved to be an able leader of the team.
“I think Messi is the best player in the world,” the 27-year-old was quoted. “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.”