Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has responded to Virgil van Dijk not winning this year’s Ballon d’Or, claiming that he thinks the defender should have beaten Lionel Messi to the top prize.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp thinks Virgil van Dijk should’ve won the Ballon d’Or, instead of Barcelona legend Lionel Messi. Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or on Monday night, after journalists from across the world voted in favour of the Argentinian.
Klopp admitted he thought the result should’ve gone differently, with his own centre-back being crowned the world’s best player.
Defender Van Dijk could only manage to finish second in the voting, ahead of Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Liverpool boss thinks ultimately Van Dijk deserved to win the Ballon d’Or.
He also claimed that he couldn’t think of a better season for a centre-back in history.
“The decision is made by journalists, and that’s how they see it,” said Jurgen Klopp.
“It’s no problem. I see it slightly different, and so do a lot of people.
“I cannot remember a more impressive season for a defender ever.”
Van Dijk was the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or for a number of months, leading up to the event.
But, Messi managed to snatch the trophy away from the Liverpool star after a series of impressive performances.
He scored 54 goals for his club and country last season, and also mesmerised fans with a number of superb free-kick goals.
His latest award makes him the only player to ever reach six Ballon d’Ors, after previously being level with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo finished third in the running, meaning he dropped out of the top two for the first time since 2010.
Van Dijk admitted that Messi was just “a little bit better” than him over the past 12 months, after he accepted the second place award.
He’s still proud of everything he achieved with Liverpool last season, including winning the Champions League, and finishing runners-up in the Premier League.
“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like [Messi and Ronaldo] who are a bit unnatural,” said Van Dijk.
“I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better.
“I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and Holland, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still.
“I never thought that I would be up for a Ballon d’Or until I was actually nominated.
“It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.
“I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year.”