Virgil Van Dijk Wins UEFA Men’s Player of the year Award

16

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for the 2018/19.

The Dutchman beat off competition from two-time winner, Lionel Messi and three-time UEFA Men’s player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 28-year-old centre-back received the trophy on stage in Monaco during the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won their sixth European Cup last season with a 2-0 Champions League final victory over Tottenham in Madrid.

“I need to thank my teammates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved,” Van Dijk told BT Sport.

“It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey. I’m very proud to get this trophy. It’s credit to everyone who has helped me.”

Van Dijk is the first defender to win the award since the inaugural edition in 2010-11.

He moved to Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a then-world record fee for a defender of £75 million ($91.4 million), immediately helping them reach that season’s Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid.

But Van Dijk was a key figure as Liverpool won their first major trophy since 2012 last term, while also setting a club-record points tally in finishing second by a point behind Manchester City in the Premier League.

“I wasn’t 18 and went straight to the top. I had to work every step of the way,” added Van Dijk, who was also part of the Netherlands side who lost the inaugural Nations League final to Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Messi and Ronaldo had claimed five of the previous eight awards between them, with Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.

Full-back Lucy Bronze won the Women’s Champions League title with Lyon before helping England reach the women’s World Cup semi-finals.

The 27-year-old Bronze is the first English player to win either of the UEFA player of the year.

Top Ten

1 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool & Netherlands) – 305 points
2 Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) – 207 points
3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus & Portugal) – 74 points
5 Sadio Mané (Liverpool & Senegal) – 51 points
6 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt) – 49 points
7 Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid & Belgium) – 38 points
8= Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus & Netherlands) – 27 points
8= Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/Barcelona & Netherlands) – 27 points
10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City & England) – 12 points

Comments