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Jamie Carragher believes Lionel Messi will win the 2019 Ballon d'Or over Virgil van Dijk

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Virgil van Dijk capped off a brilliant season with Champions League glory earlier this month. 

The Liverpool centre-back was also key to his side's Premier League title challenge and although they came up short by one point, he was still named PFA Player of the Year. 

The Dutchman had one last chance to win even more silverware on Sunday night, as the Netherlands took on Portugal in the inaugural Nations League final. 

But it was Cristiano Ronaldo and co. who came out on top, winning 1-0. 

Still, Van Dijk had a superb season - so much so, that he's moved ahead of Lionel Messi as favourite for the Ballon d'Or with some bookmakers. 

Considering he did win the European Cup - and was so close to winning the Premier League, it's not surprising that he's up there amongst the favourites.

But Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher doesn't believe he deserves the top individual prize come December. 

Instead, he thinks the Ballon d'Or should go to Lionel Messi once again. 

Barcelona v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg

"I saw he [Van Dijk] has gone ahead of Messi in the betting. I'd be thinking Messi to be honest - very rarely you see a centre-back get that," Carragher said on Sky Sports.

"I think that Cannavaro got it on the back of winning the World Cup in 2006. [But] I don't think his game has changed too much over the season.

"He's obviously had a great season but I think you've got to win big things and I think that Champions League has put that stamp on him being one of the world's best. 

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"Earlier this season we always spoke about Pique and Ramos not necessarily that they were performing better than Van Dijk – but they have the medals for club and country."

Carragher believes that because the Dutchman came up short in the Nations League on Sunday, he doesn't quite deserve the Ballon d'Or just yet.

"That's why he'll be disappointed today [missing out on Nations League]. Obviously, it's not a World Cup or a Euros but it's just that nice little trophy for his country," he continued.

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"But I think when you win something big, that's when you really cement yourself at that level and I think he is the best in the world in that position. He's proven himself. But, Ballon d'Or, I think Messi."

There's been a lot of buzz around Van Dijk winning the Ballon d'Or recently and that's not surprising considering he's had such a great season. 

But Carragher makes a valid point. 

A.S. Roma v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg

Historically, the award has gone to forwards rather than defenders and unless Van Dijk makes a major statement by winning an international trophy, he will struggle to be named the world's best.  

Topics:
Football
Virgil van Dijk
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Liverpool

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