Virgil van Dijk was the fastest player in the 2018/19 Champions League campaign

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

It’s been quite a season for Virgil van Dijk.

PFA Player of the Year, Champions League winner and UEFA Nations League runner-up.

He’s also established himself as the favourite to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, with many fans now calling him the best defender in the world.

On Friday, the centre-back sent a message to fans thanking them for what has been an amazing season for him.

“I’ve had a few days to reflect now at the end of what’s been an unbelievable season,” he wrote.

“We achieved great things this season at Liverpool as a team and I feel proud to be part of such an incredible club with this group of players. To be European Champions is a dream come true!”

But there’s a record Van Dijk set during the 2018/19 season that he may not know about - the fastest player in the entire Champions League campaign.

Van Dijk reached a speed of 34.5 km/h during Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the semi-finals.

And a clip has emerged of the moment Van Dijk surpassed the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Gareth Bale and Leroy Sane in terms of top speed.

It came in second-half injury-time with Liverpool already 3-0 down. Lionel Messi was breaking with the ball and had Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez either side of him. The only man back for Liverpool was Andy Robertson.

Robertson backed off, allowing Van Dijk to somehow get back in position to cut off the pass to Alba, showing some incredible speed to do so.

The move resulted in Messi passing to Suarez, who saw his cross blocked by Robertson.

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Just how important was that sprint from Van Dijk?

He turned a 1v3 situation into a 2v2 situation with his pace, stopping a certain goal.

If Barca had made it 4-0 at the Camp Nou, Liverpool’s incredible comeback at Anfield would have been very unlikely.

But Van Dijk allowed Robertson to make the tackle, Barcelona failed to score a fourth and the rest is history.

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