Virgil Van Dijk has become only the first defender in the last 15 years to be named UEFA footballer of the year.
The Dutch International, was crowned the UEFA footballer of the year at an award ceremony held in Monaco on Thursday 29th August, 2019.
The 27 year old held off stiff competition from 4-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The award comes on the back of a fine season with Liverpool that saw the Van Dijk produce an outstanding performance in defence to see Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 14 years.
Liverpool also finished just one point behind eventual English Premier League winners Manchester City, in what was one of the most entertaining and tightly contested title races.
As captain, he also led Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League final where they lost to Portugal in the final.
Speaking after the award, Virgil Van Dijk said,
“It feels] fantastic. It’s been a great year and obviously, to get recognition for what we did last year is stunning.
“It’s down to everyone at Liverpool, everyone that is helping me along the way as well so it’s great.”
In addition to the award, Van Dijk was also named the UEFA defender of the year.
UEFA goalkeeper of the year: Allison Becker (Liverpool/Brazil)
UEFA defender of the year: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands)
UEFA midfielder of the year: Frenkie De Jong (Ajax / Netherlands)
UEFA forward of the year : Lionel Messi (Barcelona / Argentina)
UEFA footballer of the year : Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool/ Netherlands)
UEFA Women’s player of the year: Lucy Bronze (England/ Olympique Lyonnais)