Liverpool stopper Virgil van Dijk has lavishly praised Barcelona star Lionel Messi and said he is the one who should win the Ballon d’Or this time by calling him the ‘best player in the world’. Van Dijk, who has been a key player in Liverpool’s successful campaign this year which ended with them winning the Champions League on Saturday, refused to pick himself as a probable winner for the coveted prize.

“I’m not thinking of that. But if I win, I’ll take it. Messi should win it though. He is the best in the world, whether he’s in the final or not,” he said. However, it is expected that he will give a tough competition to Messi and if he manages that he would be the first defender to win Ballon d’Or after Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006.

It will also be a heartbreak for the Barcelona stalwart who was expected to win it during the initial months of the 2018-19 season. But the Dutch defender of Liverpool had a remarkable season and was also named as the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season in England.

Liverpool’s season ended with the Champions League final and Van Dijk is not satisfied yet as he eyes on the Premier League title next season. Manchester City won this year’s Premier League title and they were just one point ahead of Liverpool. “We should be hungry. This season finished today with the Champions League. In July, everyone starts at zero and we go again. We saw this season that we still have to build on it,” Van Dijk said.

“We need to challenge Manchester City again because I don’t think they’re going anywhere. We are ambitious and we want these type of nights a couple of times a year,” he said.