Virgil van Dijk named UEFA Player of the Year

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the award, Sky Sports reports.

The award tops a fantastic season for the Netherlands international, who was voted PFA Player of the Year for his displays at the heart of a Liverpool defence which conceded just 22 goals in the Premier League and finished the campaign with a sixth European Cup, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final in Madrid.

Lucy Bronze was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year. The defender has played for Lyon since 2017 and won the World Cup Silver Ball this summer, as the second-best player of the tournament in France.

Frenkie de Jong won the best midfielder award, while Lionel Messi was named best forward.

Previously known as the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, the Player of the Year award takes into account both club and national team competitions.

Created in 2011, it was initially aimed at reviving the European Footballer of the Year Award (Ballon d’Or), which was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

It also replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player to win the award three times as well as twice in a row. Since its inception, the award has been won by Messi (2011, 2015), Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribéry (2013), Ronaldo (2014, 2016, 2017) and Luka Modric (2018).