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Virgil van Dijk crowned UEFA Player of the Year

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Virgil van Dijk has beaten stiff competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.

Van Dijk capped off a perfect evening in Monaco by collecting both the UEFA Defender of the Season and Player of the Year prizes. It was simply another testament to his remarkable progress in both Europe and England.

The Dutch defender was pivotal in Liverpool’s turnaround into becoming Premier League title challengers last season. He even won the PFA Player of the Year prize and inspired the club to Champions League glory.

Van Dijk’s towering presence in the Reds backline was so strong, in fact, that not a single defender got past him last season.

The 28-year-old ended a brilliant campaign by claiming match honours in Liverpool’s 2-0 Champions League final win over Tottenham. It was a richly deserved accolade given that it was a typical Van Dijk-like performance, with not even one Spurs player being able to do anything about him.

Van Dijk also captained the Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League finals. While he was unlucky not to win the final itself, he memorably scored against the likes of Germany and world champions France.

Therefore, UEFA announced a panel of 80 club coaches and 55 journalists awarded Van Dijk a stunning victory in the Player of the Year prize.

The former Southampton player finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Messi by 98 points in the voting panel. Three-time winner Ronaldo, meanwhile, rounded-off the top-three with just 74 points to his name.

Van Dijk’s Liverpool team-mate Alisson Becker claimed the Goalkeeper of the Season accolade.

Top-10 UEFA Players of Year

1 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool & Netherlands – 305 points
2 Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) – 207 points
3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus & Portugal) – 74 points
5 Sadio Mané (Liverpool & Senegal) – 51 points
6 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt) – 49 points
7 Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid & Belgium) – 38 points
8= Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus & Netherlands) – 27 points
8= Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/Barcelona & Netherlands) – 27 points
10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City & England) – 12 points

Porto v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg
PORTO, PORTUGAL – APRIL 17: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Porto and Liverpool at Estadio do Dragao on April 17, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)