AC Milan and Brazil legend Kaka has backed Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk to claim the Ballon d’Or this year, in quotes published by the club’s official website.
The Liverpool centre-back enjoyed a fantastic season at Anfield as the Reds challenged for the Premier League and added a sixth Champions League trophy to the club’s collection.
Kaka won the award himself in 2007 after helping AC Milan win Champions league. The Italian side edged out Liverpool in Athens in a repeat of the 2005 final in Istanbul.
Speaking about Van Dijk’s Ballon d’or chances he said. “Would I give the Ballon d’Or to Virgil van Dijk? I had some discussions talking about it with friends and with my brother and the name we chose is really his.”
“We’ll see what the judges will decide but it’s time to reward a defender.”
Not since Fabio Cannavaro’s win in 2006 has a defender claimed the prestigious award.
Virgil Van Dijk has has already been recognised as UEFA’s player of the year. The Liverpool player is looking increasingly likely to be the winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or.
He would represent the first defender to claim the award in 13 years. Not since Fabio Cannavaro’s win in 2006 has a defender claimed the top individual prize in world Football.
Liverpool’s Van Dijk is certainly not short of support in his bid for the award, with legends such as Kaka backing him for the prize.