Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was named the 2018/19 PFA Player of the Year in the Premier League back in April and the Dutchman could be set for another prestigious award next month in the 2019 Ballon d’Or ceremony.
The Ballon d’Or is an annual award which is given to the most outstanding player across Europe and is voted by journalists, national team coaches and captains. Luka Modric was handed the award last December for his performances which helped Real Madrid win the Champions League and his part in leading Croatia to the World Cup final.
— Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) April 28, 2019
Van Dijk is thought to be the front-runner this year given the outstanding calendar year he has had for Liverpool and the Netherlands. The Dutchman was part of the winning Liverpool team which beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final back in June, and he was also the Man of the Match in that game.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, they fell just short in the Premier League as they finished one point behind Manchester City in the final standings for the 2018/19 campaign. Liverpool accumulated 97 points last season and that tally would have been good enough to win 25 of the previous 27 titles since the Premier League was inaugurated.
Van Dijk has played his hand in helping Liverpool progress as a team. With the help of the Dutchman, Liverpool are top of the Premier League table this season where they are 4/5 in the Premier League betting to win the title.
Who Else Has Been Nominated?
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both won the Ballon d’Or a record five times and the pair, who are considered as two of the all-time greats, are once again amongst the nominations this year. Ronaldo won the Serie A title with Juventus last season, scoring 28 goals in all competitions. He was also part of Portugal’s success in the UEFA Nations League back in the summer where they beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final in Porto.
The Portuguese captain has won the Ballon d’Or four times in the last six years. The last time he lifted the trophy was in 2017, with 946 votes going his way. He has also been second on six occasions.
Messi is expected to have a good chance of winning his sixth Ballon d’Or trophy this year as he won the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year back in September, beating Van Dijk to that award. The player who has landed that title has gone on to win the Ballon d’Or in each of the three years since it was first presented in 2016.
No player across Europe scored more goals than Messi last season. The Barcelona forwarded netted on 51 occasions in all competitions, 36 of which came in La Liga. He is looking to win the Ballon d’Or this year for the first time since 2015.