Liverpool defender, Virgil van Dijk has beaten Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi and Juventus and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to win UEFA’s 2018/19 Men’s Player of the Year.
Van Dijk won the award at a ceremony which took place in Monaco, France on Thursday, August 29, 2019.
The 28-year-old Dutch who has earlier won the prize for the UEFA Champions League defender of the year, played was integral for Liverpool as they won the Champions League having finished second place in the Premier League and reached the UEFA Nations League final with Holland in the summer, where they were beaten by Portugal.
Liverpool also defeated Chelsea on penalties to win UEFA super cup earlier this month.
Speaking shortly after picking up the awards, van Dijk said: “I’m very proud to get this trophy and it’s all credit to everyone that has helped me along the way.”
The Dutch defender then revealed that he idolised Brazil legend Ronaldinho as he grew up.
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. ”
Van Dijk Liverpool compatriot, goalkeeper Alisson also eon the award for best goalkeeper, while Frenkie De Jong took home the prize for the best midfielder.
Lionel Messi was crowned the UEFA forward of the year, but was unable to beat Van Dijk to the overall award.