Over the past few years, football has experienced some major changes, but the biggest change could come to fruition on the 2nd of December when the winner of the illustrious Ballon d’OR award is announced.
Going into the award ceremony, Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi are the two players tipped to win the award having had phenomenal individual seasons and enjoyed incredible success with their respective club sides.
While Messi has enjoyed a great year at Barcelona, here are 4 reasons why Virgil Van Dijk should win the Ballon d’OR;
When Liverpool signed Van Dijk back in 2018, they did so with the hope that he would provide a solution to the defensive woes that had plagued the club for years, and the Dutchman, did exactly that.
Van Dijk, almost single-handedly, provided Liverpool with the defensive cover they needed to launch a viable bid for the Premier League title.
The difference between a Liverpool side with Van Dijk and a Liverpool without the 6’4 dutchman is nothing short of insane.
Whilst Messi’s impact at Barcelona is of a similar magnitude, for Van Dijk, to have ‘fixed’ Liverpool’s defence, in the manner that he did, speaks volumes of his credibility as a potential Ballon d’OR winner.
The Champions League
It is one thing for a player to be part of a Champions League winning squad, but it is another thing entirely for a player to be actively involved in the process of winning the competition.
Through winning aerial duels, making important blocks and making Liverpool incredibly difficult to penetrate, Virgil Van Dijk made major contributions to Liverpool’s Champions League victory last season, something which undoubtedly gives him a major edge over Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who Liverpool knocked out of the competition.
A New Dawn
As we said at the beginning of the article, football is experiencing some major changes. Messi and Ronaldo, the two players who have dominated the Ballon d’OR award over the past decade are no longer at the peak of their powers.
The award’s current holder, Luka Modric, compared to Messi last season, did not deserve to win the award, but going into the Ballon d’OR ceremony on Monday, should Van Dijk turn out to be the eventual winner of the award, it will be deserved, which in itself, proves that Messi and Ronaldo’s decline has begun, considering the fact that, at the peak of their powers, no player could earn the right to ‘deserve’ to win an award ahead the pair.
While Messi and Ronaldo may still be producing exceptional results for their sides, the twilight of their primes means that a new group of players who will etch their names in the history of the game through winning the Ballon d’OR award will naturally emerge, and Virgil Van Dijk, through his impressive performances deserves to be the first player to break Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance after the year he’s had with Liverpool.
The Premier League
Last season, Liverpool came extremely close to winning the Premier League title. Their dominance was such that, in pretty much any other Premier League season they would’ve lifted the trophy, and they owe a large part of that dominance to Van Dijk’s influence on the team’s backline.
This season, Van Dijk hasn’t slowed down. He has continued to be a defensive rock for Liverpool, maintaining an 86% pass success rate and winning a total of 88 duels.
Liverpool currently sit atop the Premier League table – should they go on to win the Premier League this season, it’s fair to say that Van Dijk will have played a key role.