The Ballon d’Or is an award given out annually to the best player in the world for that year. Well, that’s the idea at least. In reality, this award has lost a lot of its respect in the last few years due to some highly controversial rankings. This year’s prize has shocked and infuriated a lot of the football world as Lionel Messi collected his sixth Ballon d’Or.

All of the signs pointed towards this being the year that a defender finally won the prize again. Virgil van Dijk was tipped to be the first centre back to collect the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

The Dutchman had the year of his life: Liverpool won the Champions League and recorded a monumental 97 points in the Premier League. So far, he has been pivotal to the Reds’ eight point lead at the top of the table.

Whilst the Argentine had a terrific season, as he always does, he was undeniably outstripped by the colossal performances of the Anfield number four. Twitter has reacted to the Lionel Messi Ballon d’Or win.

Italy and AC Milan legend Franco Baresi was having none of it, the iconic defender was adamant that Big Virg deserved the award.

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Pundit and former deadly striker Chris Sutton was also questioning of the vote.

One Twitter user succinctly broke down how Leo had not stood out on enough big occasions, instead being pipped in nearly every competition.

This Kopite was shocked by the glee that rival fans were taking in Virgil’s second place award.

Another Red was reassured that the whole world is talking about Van Dijk even though he didn’t take home the gong.

And of course, there was the obvious conspiracy theory….that may be true.

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