Van Dijk beats C.Ronaldo to be 2019 ballon d’Or runner-up. Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was runner-up behind Messi
The Barca captain beat Liverpool’s Netherlands centre-back Virgil van Dijk into second place, while his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo was third in the voting, with Liverpool forward Sadio Mane fourth.
“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,”
said Van Dijk, of Messi and Ronaldo.
“So you need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better.
“I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and the Netherlands, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still.”
Van Dijk admitted he had never expected to be in the running for the prestigious title.
“I never thought that I would be up for a Ballon d’Or until I was actually nominated,” said Van Dijk.
“It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.
“I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year.”
2019 Ballon d’Or top 10
Virgil van Dijk