Liverpool and Netherlands’ defender Virgil van Dijk on Thursday attributed his success of winning the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award to the role his teammates played.
Concise News reports that Van Dijk was on Thursday crowned the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year during the UEFA Champions League draw in Monaco.
He was the big winner from the UEFA Champions League awards, picking up the Player of the Year accolade, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Liverpool ace also scooped the Defender of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League Season while his Reds teammate Alisson won the Goalkeeper of the Season award.
“I need to thank my teammates. Without them, I would not have achieved what I have achieved,” van Dijk said after picking up his award.
“It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey. I’m very proud to get this trophy.
“It’s credit to everyone who has helped me. I wasn’t 18 and went straight to the top. I had to work every step of the way.
“I looked up to Ronaldinho a lot (while) growing up. I enjoyed his play with all his tricks, it was a great feeling to watch him play,” he said.
The UEFA Champions League draw ceremony took place in Monaco, with the elite of European football learning their group-stage opponents for this year’s tournament.
The event was also an opportunity for UEFA to hand out their annual awards, recognising the best performing players in each position throughout the previous year.
As well as the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward, UEFA selected the best Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year and handed the President’s award to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.
Shortlists for every category were selected by a jury comprising the 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the Champions League and Europa League last season.
They were joined by 55 prominent journalists who were also handed votes.
Other winners at 2019 UEFA Awards
Alisson Becker (Brazil, Liverpool FC) was crowned UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season, amassing a total of 334 points and finishing ahead of Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany, FC Barcelona), who collected 136 points, and Hugo Lloris (France, Tottenham Hotspur FC), who claimed 105 points.
Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands, Liverpool FC) was named UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season thanks to a total of 349 points. Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands, AFC Ajax, now with Juventus) finished second with 205 points and Trent Alexander-Arnold (England, Liverpool FC) came in third with 29 points.
Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands, AFC Ajax, now at FC Barcelona) was crowned UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season, picking up a total of 222 points, while Christian Eriksen (Denmark, Tottenham Hotspur FC) picked up 60 points to finish second and Jordan Henderson (England, Liverpool FC) ranked third with 59 points.
Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona) was named UEFA Champions League Forward of the Season, claiming a total of 285 points. Sadio Mané (Senegal, Liverpool FC) came second with 109 points and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus) was third with 91 points.
Lucy Bronze was voted UEFA Women’s Player of the Year 2018/19.
Finally, during the Monaco ceremony, French and European football legend Eric Cantona was presented with the 2019 UEFA President’s Award by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin for his outstanding career and services to football both on and off the pitch.
In addition, a dedicated supporter of Burnley FC, Scott Cunliffe, together with the German club Borussia Dortmund, received the UEFA #EqualGame Awards, which recognise a person or entity that has acted as a role model in promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in European football.