Rio Ferdinand says Virgil Van Dijk winning UEFA Men’s player of the year was the wrong decision but accepts that he is currently the best defender in the world.
Liverpool are on 7th heaven on the back of a fairy tale season. A few years back they were struggling to even qualify for the Champions League. Now, they have won it. Their rising stocks in the European competition has coincided with their own rise domestically.
The Reds earned 97 points in the Premier League last season. Had they been competing in any other league in the world they would have surely won it. However, they fell short of the title by a single point as Manchester City won their second consecutive Premier League.
Regardless, their fans were very happy with the team’s performance and have credited Jurgen Klopp with the meteoric rise. However, if one were to speak with the German, he would hand the entire credit to his team. While this is true, there have been some who have shone brighter than the others.
Virgil Van Dijk is one such player. The defender singlehandedly raised the standards of defending in the team and bought with him a solidity that one wouldn’t normally associate with Liverpool before. No one could dribble past him last season and the Dutchman starred for his team, both domestically and in Europe.
As a result, the Dutchman won the UEFA Player of the Season award. He beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the prize and was almost 100 votes ahead of Messi who came in second place. However, there are some who are not as convinced as others over the decision.
Rio Ferdinand says Virgil Van Dijk winning UEFA Men’s player of the year was the wrong decision
Manchester United Legend, Rio Ferdinand said on BT Sport:
“There is no doubt in my mind that Virgil van Dijk is the best defender on the planet today.
“But when a man scores 50 goals in a season like Messi did, or Cristiano won three trophies this season, the effect he’s had on a new championship and at national level as well, you can’t look beyond that.
“People say, ‘ah it’s a bit boring that those two are still winning’ but they’re putting up numbers that have never been seen before, for 12, 15 years.
“I’m a centre half and I’m delighted that he’s won it, I think he’s a worthy winner, but when you’ve got a man scoring 50 you can’t do that.
“They’re the best. Messi and Ronaldo have been penalised for the standards they’ve set it’s become boring for some people.”
"I'm happy for Van Dijk but when someone scores 50, you can't do that!"@rioferdy5 breaks from the centre-back union and believes Van Dijk still falls short of Messi and Ronaldo.#EarlyKickOff pic.twitter.com/vNcEnzqitv
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 31, 2019
Virgil Van Dijk has also been nominated for the Ballon d’Or and is one of the favorites to win. However, Ferdinand believes that Cristiano Ronaldo should be handed the award following his quick acclimatization to Italian football and his success on the International stage.
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