Following his recent nomination as last season’s best defender in the Champions League, Virgil van Dijk has made the cut as one of three finalists for overall UEFA European Player of the Year along with perennial favourites Lionel Messi and Ronaldo.
Given Van Dijk is, along with Messi, currently being talked about as the Ballon d’Or co- favourite, perhaps the only surprising thing about the 2019 edition of UEFA’s awards is the presence of Ronaldo, there for his role in Juventus’ domestic double.
The favourites, though, have to be the Liverpool centre half and Barcelona forward, the latter of whom had, at 31 years of age, arguably the best individual season of his storied professional career—even if he only got a La Liga trophy out of it.
Meanwhile, Van Dijk was the consensus player of the season in England for a side that racked up 97-points and won the Champions League. By the numbers, Messi edges it. By silverware—and maybe if people are tired of voting Messi—Van Dijk does.
however people vote and whatever the final outcome, the award for UEFA’s Player of the Season will be announced as part of the Champions League and Europa League group stage draw ceremonies on August 29th.