The Liverpool defender, Virgil Van Dijk has become the first Premier League player and Dutchman to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
Edging out the Messi who won the award in 2011 and 2015 and Ronaldo in 2014, 2016, and 2017, Van Dijk started his career with Groningen in the Netherlands in 2011 before Celtic acquired him for over $3m in the summer transfer of 2013.
Two years later, Southampton brought him to premier league for $16m. His performance at the club impressed Liverpool who signed van Dijk during the 2018 winter transfer window for a world record fee of $90M for a defender.
Van Dijk was man-of-the-match in their champions league final beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to win the 2019 Champions League and he also helped the Netherlands to the final four of the inaugural Nation League.
“I need to think my team-mates; without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved over the past year,” said Van Dijk.
“It’s been a long road but it’s been part of my journey.
“I had to work hard at every step along the way and I’m happy to have done that. I’m happy to receive this trophy – it’s a credit to everyone I’ve worked alongside.”
His Reds team-mate Alisson won the Goalkeeper of the Season award beating Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona..
Frenkie de Jong claimed the Midfielder of the Season prize for his performances during Ajax’s run to the semi-finals and Barcelona star Lionel Messi was crowned Forward of the Season.
Lucy Bronze picked up the Women’s Player of the Year.
Other past winners include Andrés Iniesta 2012, Franck Ribery 2013, and Luka Modric in 2018.