Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk narrowly missed out on winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or, finishing seven votes behind Lionel Messi, who won the title for the sixth time.
The Dutch defender, for the first time, expressed his disappointment on missing out on the individual accolade after winning the FIFA Club World Cup title against Flamengo here.
“I was slightly disappointed. I decided I would still go to the ceremony – and, in the end, it was a super night,” he said. “I still consider it a great achievement to be up there with the biggest football icons in the world."
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His return from illness helped Liverpool handle the Brazilian threat in the final as the English team had struggled in its semifinal against Monterrey with van Dijk missing in action because of illness.
“The competition was very important for us, all of us. We strive to be successful and to become successful you have to win trophies. So far we have been doing all right and we strive for more,” van Dijk said. “Flamengo is a good side. They had a clear plan. good players in the offence. They made a great atmosphere and I enjoyed playing out there today. It was very tough for us.”
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Talking about his experience in Doha, the defender said: “I didn't see anything of Qatar because I've been sick the whole week. So hopefully I can come back in the World Cup.”
Van Dijk earmarked the 2018-19 season as his best so far. “2018-19 is definitely my best season in my career. The year 2019, I think, for the club has been outstanding and we've been doing pretty well. We shouldn't be satisfied with it. We should keep going, keep striving for more, keep wanting more trophies, and the only thing you have to do is keep walking behind us,” he said to the Liverpool supporters.
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