Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the award.
The award tops a fantastic season for the Netherlands international, who was voted PFA Player of the Year for his displays at the heart of a Liverpool defense which conceded just 22 goals in the Premier League and finished the campaign with a sixth European Cup, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final in Madrid.
The 28-year-old Dutchman comfortably beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won this award five times between them, in a poll decided by coaches from the 32 teams that made last season’s Champions League group stage and 55 leading football journalists.
Signed from Southampton in January 2018 for £75million, Van Dijk was named the PFA and Premier League player of the year last season and was also man of the match when Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid to claim their sixth European crown.
And now he can add two more gongs to his collection, as he was unsurprisingly named Europe’s best defender at the Monaco award ceremony which doubled as the Champions League draw.
After he picked up the prize, he said: “I’m very proud to get this trophy and it’s all credit to everyone that has helped me along the way.”
He added: “I looked up to a young player as Ronaldinho as he had so much joy in the way he played – with his tricks.
“It was a great feeling to watch him play.”
Lucy Bronze was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year. The defender has played for Lyon since 2017 and won the World Cup Silver Ball this summer, as the second-best player of the tournament in France.