Champions League awards 2019: Liverpool’s Van Dijk beats Messi & Ronaldo to UEFA Player of the Year

Virgil van Dijk has been announced as the 2018/19 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year.

The award takes into account performances for both club and the national team over the course of last season.

Last year it was Luka Modric who scooped the prize, but he now hands it over to Van Dijk.

All three men who were shortlisted for the award found success with their clubs in 2018/19.

Van Dijk secured Liverpool the Champions League, while Lionel Messi won La Liga with Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo claimed the Serie A title with Juventus.

However, it was only the latter who found silverware on the international stage, as Ronaldo helped Portugal win the inaugural Nations League.

Incidentally, they beat Van Dijk’s Netherlands 1-0 in the final.

Messi had another disappointing summer with Argentina, as his country were knocked out of the Copa America by Brazil at the semi-final stage.

Off the pitch, the Argentine captain landed himself in a lot of trouble for his comments criticising the officiating at the tournament.

Despite only Ronaldo finding success with his country, all three of those players were a class above anyone else last season.

Other nominees included Liverpool trio Alisson Becker, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, former Ajax pair Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, as well as Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.

Eden Hazard, who joined Real Madrid over the summer, was also nominated after his Europa League exploits with Chelsea.

He was the only player not competing in the Champions League to make the list.

Van Dijk picked up his award at a ceremony in Monaco, where the Men’s Player of the Year prize was handed out for only the ninth time.

The previous winners were:
2010-11: Lionel Messi
2011-12: Andres Iniesta
2012-13: Franck Ribery
2013-14: Cristiano Ronaldo
2014-15: Lionel Messi
2015-16: Cristiano Ronaldo
2016-17: Cristiano Ronaldo
2017-18: Luka Modric

Congratulations, Van Dijk!