Virgil van Dijk has said lifting more trophies with Liverpool is a “bigger goal” than winning the Ballon d’Or this year.
The defender played a crucial role in Liverpool’s Champions League victory last season and is being tipped to join the small group of defenders who have won the Ballon d’Or.
Could Van Dijk win the Ballon d’Or? Five key things to know…
- Van Dijk won the Champions League and helped Liverpool finish 2nd in the Premier League in 2018/19.
- The Dutchman became the first defender to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year since John Terry in 2004/05.
- He is now one of the favourites to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, which hasn’t been won by a defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
- Liverpool conceded just 22 goals in 38 Premier League games last season.
- Van Dijk believes silverware with the Reds is more important than personal glory.
Thanks to Van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Liverpool finished last season with the best defence in the Premier League, conceding just 22 goals in 38 matches.
And while the Ballon d’Or looks like a possibility as a result of his performances, Van Dijk insists his priority is to win more silverware for Liverpool.
“If people are talking about it – you can’t say it doesn’t do you something,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
“But it’s a subject we don’t have any influence on. I can’t change anything right now other than get fit, stay fit and that’s the situation.
“Winning something like that is a dream come true for every footballer in the world. If you don’t then you just get on with it and try to perform better than last year.
“It would be fantastic, and I would be very proud.
“But the main thing will be to focus on what we do all together and achieving the bigger goal – that’s getting silverware with the club.”
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Van Dijk: I was “fuming” after Gnagnon tackle
Van Dijk’s teammate Yasser Larouci was the victim of a horror tackle by Joris Gnagnon on Monday as Liverpool lost 2-1 to Sevilla in a pre-season friendly.
Gnagnon was shown a straight red card after lashing out at the young full-back, but Van Dijk has admitted the punishment did not quell his anger after the game.
“That tackle can’t happen in pre-season, it can’t happen at all,” the centre-back said. “But especially in pre-season where it is all about getting fit, you don’t want to get injured and to kick someone like that was unacceptable.
“I saw it – and then when I was in the dressing room I was fuming.”