Klopp says Van Dijk is standout candidate above Messi for Ballon d'Or glory

By Sports Desk November 24, 2019

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Virgil van Dijk should beat Lionel Messi to Ballon d'Or glory next month.

Dutch defender Van Dijk has had a stunning year with Liverpool, helping the Reds win the Champions League in June.

They narrowly missed out on last season's Premier League title but are heading the chase for domestic glory in England this term after an unbeaten start.

Klopp can see why Barcelona superstar Messi would be a popular choice for the individual honour, because of his career accomplishments.

But rather than give a sixth Ballon d'Or to Messi, Klopp believes there is a strong case for Liverpool's defensive talisman to walk away with the trophy at the Paris ceremony on December 2.

Real Madrid's Croatian playmaker Luka Modric was last year's winner of the prize, which is awarded annually by France Football magazine.

Klopp said: "If you give the Ballon d'Or to the best player of this generation, then you can give it always to Lionel Messi, that's how it is.

"But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk.

"So I don't know exactly how it will work, but that's how I see it.

"If it's for the best player of all, then it's Lionel. The best player of last season, it's Virgil. We will see."

Van Dijk also helped Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2020 this year, while Messi featured as Argentina finished third at the Copa America.

Related items

  • Oblak: More to Liverpool than just Mane, Salah and Firmino Oblak: More to Liverpool than just Mane, Salah and Firmino

    Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak insisted there was more to Liverpool than just their brilliant front three and said they were deserved favourites.

    Liverpool face Atletico in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.

    Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino again shape as being huge threats to Atletico, who have won just one of their past seven games.

    But Oblak, likely to play a key role for the LaLiga side, said there was more to worry about than just Liverpool's forwards.

    "We've obviously analysed everything but in the end all three are world-class players," he told a news conference.

    "And it's not only them, Liverpool are a team and everyone on the pitch is an amazing player. They are in great form so I need to worry about all of them, not anyone individually.

    "I'm worried about Liverpool as a team, we are playing Liverpool, not three great players up front. It will be a very difficult game and all three will cause us problems."

    While Atletico are struggling for form, Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League and hold a 25-point lead at the top.

    Oblak said the reigning European champions deserved favouritism for the last-16 tie.

    "It's a team that practically hasn't lost a single game in a year, they are deservedly favourites and I'm sure they're favourites," he said.

    "But that doesn't mean that we can give up and let them play how they want. We want to play our best possible game, the best game of the season so far and to get to the second leg alive.

    "We are going to do our best and play our best against Liverpool who are in a great place at the moment."

  • Alexander-Arnold thankful for Cafu praise, but unfazed about Ballon d'Or talk Alexander-Arnold thankful for Cafu praise, but unfazed about Ballon d'Or talk

    Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold is unfazed about individual honours, but the full-back thanked Cafu after the Brazil great said he could win the Ballon d'Or.

    Alexander-Arnold, 21, has played a key role in Liverpool's dominant season so far, leading Cafu to suggest the right-back can win a Ballon d'Or.

    Speaking ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg against Atletico Madrid, Alexander-Arnold was thankful, but added individual prizes were not a focus.

    "Obviously massive praise from a legend of the game. It's something that I'm really thankful for and obviously I have to give thanks to him for them words," he told a news conference.

    "I try to be the best player I can be. I think it's obviously a team game, so it's about the players I have around me. The players I have in training, the manager, the support I have all around me that enables me to be as good as I can be.

    "Accolades may or may not come in the future, it doesn't really faze me as much as maybe it does other players."

    The Ballon d'Or has traditionally been won by attacking players, something Cafu suggested needed to change.

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also praised Alexander-Arnold, who has scored two goals and provided 12 assists in 35 games this season.

    "Any football experts in? Did Cafu win the Ballon d'Or? So, he thinks obviously a right-back should win the Ballon d'Or?" he said.

    "I couldn't love Trent Alexander-Arnold more. I admire his skills, he's a wonderful boy, character all that stuff. But it's a very positive message from Cafu.

    "Yes, he has big potential. If he will win the Ballon d'Or I have no idea. Thank you Cafu for being a really nice fella, obviously."

  • Frustrated Frank Lampard says Chelsea season 'starts here' after controversial Man Utd defeat Frustrated Frank Lampard says Chelsea season 'starts here' after controversial Man Utd defeat

    Chelsea's season has to "start now" according to Frank Lampard, whose side wasted chances and endured VAR frustration as they lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United.

    The Blues, who face Tottenham next, have now won just one of their past six Premier League matches after Monday's defeat at Stamford Bridge, with their place in the top four under serious threat.

    Manchester City's ban from the Champions League – should it be upheld – will mean fifth place could be enough for a Premier League side to qualify for Europe's top-tier competition for next season.

    However, just seven points separate Chelsea and Arsenal in 10th in what has become a congested race for Europe.

    Lampard felt aggrieved that VAR was not on Chelsea's side against United, with Harry Maguire escaping a possible red card for a clash with Michy Batshuayi and the Blues seeing two goals disallowed in the second half, but he again pointed to his side's profligacy in front of goal as a factor in their defeat.

    "It's tough to take on lots of levels, some footballing, some others," Lampard, who was without leading scorer Tammy Abraham due to injury, told Sky Sports.

    "It's frustrating, but that's life. I'm not upset with the work ethic or input. Their heads are down in there and I have to correct that. It's not a 2-0 game but the reality of football is that it is a 2-0 game because of moments. 

    "We have a feeling of Groundhog Day, whatever you want to call it. There are footballing things, which get clearer every week.

    "There's always work to do every day. At the minute, we're fourth and the season starts here. There are things I can criticise; I'm not soft. If we're not going to have productivity to finish, it's very difficult to win games."

    Anthony Martial gave United a half-time lead but Kurt Zouma thought he had restored parity early in the second half, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta, who was deemed to have pushed Brandon Williams.

    Olivier Giroud's header was then disallowed for offside after Maguire had made it 2-0 from a Bruno Fernandes corner.

    "Maguire should get a red card and then he scores the second goal, and the game changes off that," Lampard, who also confirmed N'Golo Kante had suffered an adductor injury, said in a news conference.

    "That's a major part of what VAR was for. The referee can't see all the angles and if you're not going to use the monitor, I don't understand it.

    "The Zouma goal should have stood. Azpilicueta gets shoved in the first place. It's certainly not clear and obvious. It's just a wrong decision, isn't it, which is harder to take with the presence of VAR than it would have been before.

    "Love it or hate it, if something happens and they don't make the right decision, it's very confusing to say the least. Everyone I've spoken to has said the same thing."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.