He has picked up a Champions League winners medal and a PFA player of the year award in an honours packed 12 months, so it comes as no surprise he is being backed for the world’s top individual prize. The surprise is who is backing him to win it.
Sergio Ramos has cast himself as a pantomime villain in Liverpool eyes. The Spain and Real Madrid captain tattooed himself in the Kopite’s bad books after he assaulted Mo Salah in the 2018 Champions League final, forcing Liverpool’s Egyptian talisman off the field early doors.
The Galactico was speaking to Spanish outlet, Marca ahead of the launch of his Amazon Prime documentary. In the interview, published on the 10th of September 2019, he said that if Van Dijk wins the Ballon d’Or, “it will be on sufficient merit”. The Spanish defender’s words carry weight, he has been at the top of world football for over a decade, scoring 84 goals in 609 games for Real Madrid.
He believes it is time for a defender to take the prize home, the last stopper to win the award was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. He continued, “as a defender, it’s harder”, thankfully – it is no longer “just Messi and Cristiano”. The pair shared the honour uninterrupted for 10 years before Luka Modric crashed the party last year.
With the endorsement of one of the world’s greats, Virgil can feel more secure in his credentials.