Virgil van Dijk says Lionel Messi should win Ballon d'Or - but many think he deserves it

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

Virgil van Dijk has more than justified the £75 million transfer fee that raised the eyebrows of so many people back in January 2018.

The Dutch defender has been a colossus for Liverpool and is now the proud - and deserved - owner of a Champions League winners medal.

Van Dijk helped keep Tottenham at bay at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid as the Reds sealed a 2-0 victory.

While eye-catching individual performances were in short supply during the final, UEFA’s technical observers chose Van Dijk as the official Man of the Match.

“Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi and even Jürgen Klopp will no doubt take the headlines, but Van Dijk was at the heart of yet another commanding display from the Reds,” UEFA said in a statement. “His calm permeated across the back line and no doubt played a huge role in yet another clean sheet.”

Thomas Schaaf, leader of the UEFA Technical Observers in Madrid, added: "Van Dijk showed outstanding leadership and was Liverpool's best defender. He made crucial interventions when needed and played with a cool head throughout."

Van Dijk won all of his attempted tackles and aerial duels. He also made five clearances, one block and committed zero fouls.

Oh, and it also goes without saying that no Spurs player managed to dribble past him.

Per Opta, no opposition player has completed a dribble past Van Dijk in any of his last 64 appearances in all competition for Liverpool. Remarkable.

Following his latest Man of the Match performance, Van Dijk’s odds of winning the 2019 Ballon d’Or have shortened considerably, while Lionel Messi’s have lengthened.

Messi was the odds-on favourite to win the prestigious individual accolade for a record-breaking sixth time prior to the final, but now finds himself at evans, with Van Dijk now close behind at 11/10.

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However, Van Dijk told reporters after the match that, in his opinion, Messi still deserves the Ballon d’Or more than him this year.

"I think Messi is the best player in the world,” the 27-year-old was quoted as saying by the Independent’s Miguel Delaney. “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."

Lots of football fans on social media, however, now believe that Van Dijk would be a worthier winner than Messi after lifting the European Cup.

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