Lionel Messi always deserves it – Van Dijk happy to forget about Ballon d'Or

Virgil van Dijk was man of the match as Liverpool won the Champions League, but he thinks the Ballon d'Or belongs to Lionel Messi.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is "the best player in the world," says Virgil van Dijk.   -  Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk insists Lionel Messi should win the Ballon d'Or despite his own star turn in a victorious Champions League final for Liverpool.

Centre-back Van Dijk was named Man of the Match as Jurgen Klopp's side claimed the trophy with a 2-0 win over Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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Liverpool went ahead inside two minutes through a Mohamed Salah penalty and was grateful to Van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson for keeping Spurs at bay before Divock Origi sealed the win with a late second.

Van Dijk won the PFA Players' Player of the Year for his performances in the Premier League in 2018-19 and is likely to be among the favourites for the next Ballon d'Or after his display on Saturday. However, the Netherlands international said there should only be one candidate.

'Best player in the world'

"I think Messi is the best player in the world," he told reporters. "He deserves it as long as he plays, so the Ballon d'Or is not something I'm thinking of. If it happens obviously I would take it, but I don't think there is any [chance]. He is still the best player in the world. It doesn't matter if he's not in the Champions League final."

 

Alisson made some impressive stops in the second half to help Liverpool to glory, a year after it was  beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in a final in which Loris Karius took the blame for some costly errors.

Van Dijk, though, does not think a change in goalkeeper was key to Liverpool's success this time. "It's not the main difference," he said. "Football is not about one player. We win together, we lose together.

"Ali was there to save us from a couple of shots from Son [Heung-min] and everyone was trying to do their bit for the team. In the second half we were a bit sitting back, they put pressure on us, looked a bit dangerous — it happens in games. But we prepared for it, you know there are moments in games where you're going to have difficulties."

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