Lionel Messi has given Virgil van Dijk a lustrous commendation with the two set to battle it out for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
The Argentina international put in a magical display at the Nou Camp last season when Liverpool visited and he netted twice in a result which many thought had already put them in the Champions League semi-finals.
But then Jurgen Klopp’s side produced one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history in the return leg as the Reds ran riot against Barca at home with their defence standing firm.
Van Dijk, who was recently recognised as UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, was at the heart of that defence, leading by example and clearing any dangerous attack in his proximity.
The Holland international
And Messi has revealed a number of attributes Van Dijk possess that makes him so tough to break down.
“He is a defender that knows how to judge the timing and wait for the right moment to get in or hold on,” he told Marca.
“He is very fast and big, but he has a lot of agility for his height.
“He is fast because of his great stride and is impressive, both in defence and attack because he scores many goals.”
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared five Ballon d’Ors apiece over the last decade, with Luka Modric breaking their winning streak in 2018.
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And it appears Messi could miss out on the award again this year as the odds seem to favour Van Dijk to win the award.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago