Virgil van Dijk has claimed UEFA’s Defender of the Season prize following a standout campaign for Liverpool last season.
Van Dijk’s impact at Liverpool last season was immense and he finished as the defender with most clean sheets in all of Europe’s top-five leagues. He later helped end Liverpool’s seven-year trophy drought by delivering a man of the match performance in the club’s triumphant Champions League final.
Another notable fact behind the 28-year-old’s standout campaign was that he went over 1,000 minutes without anybody dribbling past him.
This incredible progress has seen many ex-players and pundits alike tip him to become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to claim the Ballon d’Or.
For now, at least anyway, Van Dijk will be taking home the UEFA Defender of the Season award.
UEFA announced that, in a voting panel of 32 club coaches and 55 journalists, Van Dijk scored 349 points. His nearest challenger was former Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt on a distant 205 points in comparison.
“When you see him walk out onto the pitch, you know within yourself that the attacker has got no chance against him,” said Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
“Virgil has basically played every minute of every game and I don’t think he’s put in a performance of less than 8/10, which is frightening.”
The Dutchman’s team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold rounded-off the top-three to continue a remarkable night for Liverpool in Monaco.
Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker, meanwhile, claimed the UEFA Goalkeeper award for his efforts last season.
UEFA Top-10 Defenders 2018/19
1 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – 349 points
2 Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, now Juventus) – 205 points
3 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – 29 points
4 Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – 16 points
5 Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) – 14 points
6 Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) – 12 points
7 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) – 8 points
8= Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) – 5 points
8= Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) – 5 points
8= Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – 5 points