France Football revealed the tiny points margin that separated Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi in the 2019 Ballon d’Or. It’s now clear how the Dutchman could have won.
Few will begrudge Messi his victory – although, some found a way. In short, he’s been phenomenal once again, reaching standards only he can hit, winning La Liga and pushing Barcelona to the top of the table this season.
But then, few could have argued against Van Dijk winning the Ballon d’Or, either. The Dutchman was incredible as Liverpool won the Champions League and he is a key part of their sensational calendar year in the Premier League.
Journalists recognised how close it was, too – Messi won by just seven points (per France Football). In a judging panel of 176 dishing out over 2000 points, that’s quite extraordinary.
This was neck and neck. But what it also proves is that Van Dijk would have won this award if he’d only won another trophy.
It perhaps shows the absurdity of individual awards. After all, Cristiano Ronaldo will have won votes by winning the Nations League with Portugal. If the Netherlands had won, Van Dijk would almost certainly have had enough points to win the Ballon d’Or.
Even more ridiculously, if Vincent Kompany hadn’t scored from 30 yards against Leicester City last season, Van Dijk would surely have won.
These aren’t really things you can account for and they don’t reflect on Van Dijk. In the end, he narrowly lost to one of the all-time greats but next year, things could very well swing the other way.