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Virgil van Dijk pips Messi and Ronaldo to Uefa Men's Player of the Year award

The defender’s displays in Liverpool’s Champions League success have been recognised with the prize.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
Image: Daniel Cole

VIRGIL VAN DIJK has been named the Uefa Men’s Player of the Year for 2018-19, seeing off competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Liverpool defender was crowned at the ceremony for the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday.

Van Dijk kept five clean sheets in 12 appearances as well as scoring two goals and contributing two assists as the Merseyside club lifted the trophy for a sixth time.

Liverpool also scooped two of the four positional awards, with Van Dijk named best defender ahead of team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold and new Juventus signing Matthijs de Ligt.

Alisson Becker won the goalkeeper award, beating Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona.

The Brazilian kept six clean sheets during Liverpool’s Champions League run, including in the final where he made eight saves in the Reds’ 2-0 win over Tottenham.

Barcelona star Messi beat rival Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane to the forward award, after scoring 12 goals in 10 Champions League appearances for the Catalan giants last season.

Frenkie de Jong claimed the midfielder award ahead of Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. The Netherlands international played a key role in Ajax’s memorable run to the semi-finals, which included victories over Real Madrid and Juventus.

His performances unsurprisingly saw him attract interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Barcelona ultimately winning the race for the 22-year-old in a £65 million deal.

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The first award of the evening went to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, who collected the President’s Award from Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin to honour his illustrious playing career and charity work.

Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman try to identify how Ireland can get back on track after Twickenham.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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