2019 BALLON D'OR

Klopp: "The way I see it, Van Dijk deserves the Ballon d'Or more than Messi"

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp says his star defender Virgil van Dijk thoroughly dserves to win this year's Ballon d'Or after his brilliant season for the Reds.

Klopp says Van Dijk is standout candidate above Messi for Ballon d'Or glory

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp says Virgil van Dijk should beat Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or next month. The Dutch defender has had a stunning year with Liverpool, helping the Reds win the Champions League in June. They narrowly missed out on last season's Premier League title but are top of the table and remain unbeaten this season.

Klopp can see why Barcelona superstar Messi would be a popular choice for the individual honour, because of his career accomplishments. But rather than give a sixth Ballon d'Or to Messi, Klopp believes there is a strong case for Liverpool's towring centre-back to walk away with the trophy at the Paris ceremony on 2 December. Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric was last year's winner of the prize, which is awarded annually by France Football magazine.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk gives the Champions League trophy a kiss

"Messi is the best player of his generation" - Klopp

Klopp said: "If you give the Ballon d'Or to the best player of this generation, then you can give it always to Lionel Messi, that's how it is. But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk. So I don't know exactly how it will work, but that's how I see it. If it's for the best player of all, then it's Lionel. The best player of last season, it's Virgil. We will see."

Van Dijk limbers up for Holland

Van Dijk and the Netherlands going to Euro 2020

Van Dijk also helped Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2020 this year, while Messi featured as Argentina finished third at the Copa América.