Liverpool centre-half Virgil van Dijk has pipped Lionel Messi in a public vote to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Over 290,000 people voted on who they believe deserves to win, with the Dutchman winning the majority of the vote with 52% in his favour.
The illustrious trophy often goes to players who notch up over 50 goals every season as the trophy has been claimed by attackers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Defenders don't often get the credit they deserve when it comes to individual accolades, but after Van Dijk was named PFA Player of the Year, he became the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2005.
Van Dijk was unsuccessful in winning the Premier league this season as Manchester City claimed the title on the last day of the season, but the Netherlands international capped a superb 2018-19 campaign by helping the Reds win the Champions League on Saturday night.
Jurgen Klopp's men beat Tottenham 2-0 in the showpiece at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and substitute Divock Origi.
The Dutchman has been a standout performer for Liverpool throughout the season and now that he has landed his first piece of silverware at Anfield, he is being tipped by many to win the coveted Ballon d'Or award.
Lionel Messi was the early favourite at winning the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time as the ‘little magician’ once again enjoyed a successful campaign with his boyhood club Barcelona, winning the La Liga title and notching up his 600th goal for the club, which came against Liverpool in the first leg of the semi-final.
Like Van Dijk, he fell short at clinching two trophies in the season as Barcelona lost to Valencia in the Copa Del Rey final where Messi managed to get on the scoresheet, however, it was too late for his side.
In 2018, Real Madrid's Luka Modric picked up the Ballon d'Or after a brilliant year at both club and international level, while Messi finished way down in fifth.
If Van Dijk can beat the Barca captain in November, he will become the first defender to win the award since ex-Italy and Juventus star Fabio Cannavaro, who won the award following Italy’s triumph at the World Cup.News Now - Sport News