Virgil van Dijk: PFA winner focused on Lionel Messi and Barcelona and rubbishes Ballon d’Or talk


Virgil van Dijk: PFA winner focused on Lionel Messi and Barcelona and rubbishes Ballon d’Or talk

Virgil van Dijk has dismissed the idea that he’s in contention to win the Ballon d’Or and is focused on dealing with ‘out of this world’ Lionel Messi in the Champions League.

The Liverpool centre-back was crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday for his standout Premier League season.

Van Dijk has won the top individual prize in English football this season

The 27-year-old’s rock-solid form at the heart of the Reds’ defence has helped keep his side in contention for their first league title in 29 years and seen them once again progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Spanish title-winners Barcelona await Van Dijk in the last four of the European competition, starting with Wednesday’s first leg at the Nou Camp, a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT.



LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2…

  • Millwall vs Bristol City (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Swansea vs Derby (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Barcelona vs Liverpool (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Chelsea (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • West Ham vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Cardiff vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

And the world’s most expensive defender admits he still has plenty to prove to be considered alongside the continent’s elite players, including Barca’s five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

“Nah, that’s not something that’s on my mind at all,” Van Dijk replied when asked about winning the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year.

Lionel Messi secured his 10th LaLiga title with Barcelona on Saturday.

“There are currently players walking around in this football world that are out of this world basically and they’ve been doing it for many years.

Liverpool face Messi and Barcelona, who won LaLiga at the weekend

“I’m very happy how I perform at the moment, how consistent I’m performing, that I’m fit as well. I think I just need to not look too far ahead.

“Right now we’re in a tight title race, in the Champions League semi-finals against a fantastic team, where probably the best players are playing so we just take it game by game.

“For us now it’s time to focus on Barcelona midweek and then we have a big game at Newcastle away as well so I won’t look too far ahead and the only goals I will set are personal goals with Liverpool.”

While Argentina forward Messi secured his 10th LaLiga title with Barca this weekend, Van Dijk became only the fourth defender – after Gary Pallister, Paul McGrath and John Terry – to win the PFA award.

Van Dijk is the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2005

Signed from Southampton for £75million in January 2018, he has played a pivotal role in turning Liverpool’s defence into the tightest in the division, conceding only 20 goals in 36 games and contributing to a league-high 20 clean sheets this term.

Jurgen Klopp’s second-placed side sit only a point behind leaders Manchester City with two fixtures remaining.

Holland international Van Dijk, part of the team beaten in last year’s Champions League final by Real Madrid, has previously spoken of becoming “a legend of Liverpool“.