Even Manchester United fans believe Virgil van Dijk has been “robbed” of glory at the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
The Liverpool captain was fancied to beat Lionel Messi to the prestigious prize but the Barcelona superstar prevailed to clinch the trophy for the sixth time. Former Red Devils star Cristiano Ronaldo came third.
Despite a bitter rivalry between the two clubs, a number of United supporters took to Twitter to express their belief that Van Dijk should have won.
“Unlucky Virgil Van Dijk…..even as a Manchester United supporter, I believe he has been robbed,” one fan said.
“Even as a Manchester United fan, I can’t help but feel like Virgil Van Dijk was robbed as he had an immense year but Messi is the GOAT. Congrats,” a second said.
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“Bro I'm a United fan & I can quite confidently say Van Dijk was robbed,” another added.
A fourth said: “I’m a United fan I am can confidently say Van Dijk should have won it. But hey ho golden boy was always going to get it.”
While a fifth commented: “I’ve watched enough to form an opinion and that is I think Van Dijk should have won.”
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It is the first time since 2008 that Liverpool have had a player in the top three at the Ballon d’Or.
Van Dijk congratulated Messi on winning the award a record sixth time.
He said: “It's been an amazing year, I was close but unfortunately there are a couple of players like him [Messi.] I am very proud.”
Liverpool fans will be delighted to hear Van Dijk is aiming to go one better next year.
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"I never thought that I would be up for a Ballon d'Or until I was actually nominated," he added. "It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.
"I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year."
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Van Dijk is the highest-placed defender since Fabio Cannavaro scooped the gong in 2006.
He is also the highest-ranked Dutch football since Dennis Bergkamp came second in 1994.
It was a good night for Liverpool, despite Van Dijk missing out on the top prize.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah came fourth and fifth respectively while Alisson won the Yashin Trophy.
- Virgil van Dijk
- Lionel Messi
- Manchester United FC
- Liverpool FC
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