Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Virgil van Dijk deserved to win the Ballon d’Or but added that Lionel Messi was a worthy winner.
The Dutch centre back finished second behind the illustrious Argentinean in the race for the award.
Van Dijk established himself as the best defender in the world last season after leading Liverpool to their sixth Champions League title. He contributed to Liverpool’s incredible 4-0 victory over Barcelona in the semi-final second leg after losing the first leg 3-0.
The 28-year-old almost single-handily fixed Liverpool’s leaky defence after joining from Southampton in January 2018. Many have credited him with turning a top four side into legitimate title challengers.
The Reds also finished just a point behind Manchester City in the race for the title last season and largely thanks to Van Dijk had the best defensive record in the Premier League that season.
Many tipped the Dutchman to beat Messi for the award by pointing out that winning the Champions League could sway the honour in his favour.
AFP reported that Klopp spoke about the Ballon d’Or at the pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Merseyside derby clash against Everton.
"Lionel Messi, I've said probably 500,000 times in my life already, is probably the best player I saw in my lifetime," Klopp said.
"But I cannot remember a more impressive season from a defender ever. Honestly. So, it would have been right if Virg won it," he added.
Liverpool are currently unbeaten and eight points clear at the top of the Premier League this season. The club look in a strong position to win their first ever Premier League title.