Virgil van Dijk beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be crowned UEFA Men’s Player of the Year on Thursday night.
The Dutch centre-back was also named Champions League Defender of the Season and is now heavy favourite with bookmakers to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or in December.
When picking up the Player of the Year award, he said: “First of all, I think I need to thank all of my [Liverpool] teammates.
“Without all of them and without the staff, I wouldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved over the last year especially. I thank my family of course.
“It’s been a long road but that’s part of my journey, it’s part of who I am. I needed it like this, I’m not a player who was 18 years old and had that rise straight away.
“I had to work hard for every step of the way – that’s part of me and I’m very happy about that. I’m very proud to get this trophy and it’s all credit to everyone that’s helped me along the way.”
Van Dijk was fully deserving of his triumph following a season where he won the Champions League and finished second in the Premier League with Liverpool.
He’s undoubtedly the best centre-back in the world right now and there’s a very good chance he’ll be adding the Ballon d’Or to his growing collection of trophies later this year.