Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been awarded the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on Thursday. He received the award at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. England’s Lucy Bronze, on the other hand, was named the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
The Anfield star was in prime form in the last season and played an instrumental role in Liverpool’s Champions League-winning campaign. The Dutch international defeated the stiff competition he faced from Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who has won it twice, and Juventus’ two-time Player of the Year-winner Cristiano Ronaldo. This is van Dijk’s first UEFA Player of the Year award.
Here are the top 10 players of last season according to UEFA.
1 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool & Netherlands) – 305 points
2 Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) – 207 points
3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus & Portugal) – 74 points
5 Sadio Mané (Liverpool & Senegal) – 51 points
6 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt) – 49 points
7 Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid & Belgium) – 38 points
8= Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus & Netherlands) – 27 points
8= Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/Barcelona & Netherlands) – 27 points
10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City & England) – 12 points
Citing the reason for van Dijk’s victory, the official media release of UEFA stated that the defender kept more clean-sheet than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues in the last season. It was for the same reason that he took home the Defender of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League Award.
Despite failing to win the Champions League in 2018, the centre-back held his nerves and produced a match-winning performance in the 2019 final against Tottenham. He was also the Man of the Match in the final of UEFA Champions League 2018-19. He has been the main pillar of Liverpool’s defence ever since his arrival from Southampton on a deal of $ 75 million.
On the women’s front, England’s Lucy Bronze was awarded the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award. She defeated her Lyon mates Ada Hegerbers and Amandine Henry to become the first English women to achieve the honour.
The other winners consisted of Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, who won the Goalkeeper of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League, Lionel Messi won the Forward of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League, while Barcelona and former Ajax Amsterdam’s Frankie de Jong won the Midfielder of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.