A leaked document shows the gong going to the Argentine for a record sixth time, but the Dutchman isn’t bothered
Virgil van Dijk may lose out on the Ballon d’Or to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, but the Liverpool man insists there are no losers amongst the nominees.
The Netherlands international was immense in leading Liverpool to last season’s Champions League and could become the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
A leaked document shows Messi winning the award for a record sixth time, pipping Van Dijk and Anfield team-mate Mohamed Salah.
However the Dutch centre-half won’t be upset if the document proves accurate, as he believes everyone in the room when the award is announced will be a winner.
“There are no losers on that evening,” Van Dijk said.
“I am very proud to be in that bracket, be in there for the way I performed with the team last year and also with the country.
“It is just something to be proud of because not a lot of players go there and are up for these kinds of things. There are no losers that evening – we’ll see what happens.”
Liverpool are off to a stellar start this season as the sit favourites for the Champions League title and have opened a chasm between themselves and the rest of the Premier League in the standings.
They lead second-placed Leicester City by eight points, and are in great shape to win their first league title in 30 years.
Despite the brilliant start, perfectionist Van Dijk believes they can still improve, saying they could keep more clean sheets, having not managed one in 12 games.
“The gap doesn’t mean anything,” the 28-year-old said. “We are in a good situation points-wise but we know we can get maybe that extra 10 per cent. We try to do it every day, but it is not easy.
“The only thing we can do is try. Hopefully it will work out, but the most important thing is to win games.
“If you look at the way we play and the quality we have, we could do a little bit better but that is something for us to look at.”
Van Dijk and his team will next have an opportunity to keep a clean sheet against troubled local rivals Everton on Tuesday.