Liverpool’s van Dijk breaks the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly

August 30 – Liverpool’s Dutch Champions League-winning defender Virgil van Dijk has been named UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year, edging out regular award-winning duo Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the prestigious prize.

Van Dijk starred in Liverpool’s 2-0 Champions League win over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June and is the first defender to win the award, which was first presented in 2010-11. Messi and Ronaldo claimed five of the previous eight awards between them, with Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the list.

“I need to thank my team-mates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved. It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey,” said 28-year-old Van Dijk.

The women’s award went to England’s Lucy Bronze who won the Champions League with Lyon and reached the World Cup semi-final. She finished ahead of club team mates Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Amandine Henry of France.

“I’m ecstatic and super humbled to have won the award up against two fantastic players who I know really well at Lyon; two great girls, great players,” said Bronze.

Following is the full list of awards presented in Monaco during the Champions League draw.

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year: Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyonnais)

Best players of the 2018/19 Champions League

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Defender: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

UEFA President’s Award: Eric Cantona

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