Van Dijk beats Messi and Ronaldo to win UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award

August 29, 2019
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Virgil van Dijk has been named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2018-19, seeing off competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Liverpool defender was crowned at the ceremony for the  Champions League group stage draw on Thursday.

Van Dijk kept five clean sheets in 12 appearances as well as scoring two goals and contributing two assists as the Merseyside club lifted the European Cup for a sixth time.

That victory in Madrid capped a fine campaign for the former Celtic and Southampton defender, who was also named PFA Players’ Player of the Season as well as Liverpool Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Season.

Van Dijk was also integral to the Netherlands‘ run to the inaugural Nations League Finals in June, where they beat England 3-1 after extra-time in the last four before losing to Portugal in the final.

“I need to think my team-mates; without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved over the past year,” said Van Dijk.

“It’s been a long road but it’s been part of my journey.

“I had to work hard at every step along the way and I’m happy to have done that. I’m happy to receive this trophy – it’s a credit to everyone I’ve worked alongside.”

Liverpool also scooped two of the four positional awards, with Van Dijk named best defender ahead of club-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold and new Juventussigning Matthijs de Ligt.

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