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Virgil van Dijk Still Favored but Odds Fading to Win Ballon d’Or; Do Messi & Ronaldo Offer Value?

Quinn Allen

by Quinn Allen in Soccer News

Updated Apr 15, 2020 · 8:08 AM PDT

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is still favored to win the Ballon d'Or, however, has seen his odds drift recently. Photo by David Blunsden/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire
  • Virgil van Dijk was a -400 favorite back in September after winning UEFA Player of the Year
  • Now he’s just a -250 favorite
  • See the updated odds with Messi now just 2-1 odds to win the Ballon d’Or below

It’s been a very long time since a defender has won the Ballon d’Or. 13 years to be exact when Italian Fabio Cannavaro took home the award in 2006. With the prestigious award set to be announced on December 2nd in Paris, Virgil van Dijk will look to take home the honor, but Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are slowly gaining ground on the Liverpool center back.

Both Messi and Ronaldo have each won the award five times, but Liverpool’s star defender still sits ahead of the two strikers in Ballon d’Or odds.

Ballon d’Or Odds

Player Odds
Virgil van Dijk -250
Lionel Messi +200
Cristiano Ronaldo +500
Mohamed Salah +4000
Sadio Mane +4000
Eden Hazard +6600
Kylian Mbappe +6600
Raheem Sterling +6600

Odds taken Nov. 4

Two of the Game’s Greatest Making Their Claim

Messi won FIFA Player of the Year earlier in 2019 and was also awarded the Golden Shoe after netting 36 goals and tallying 13 assists in just 34 La Liga appearances for Barcelona en route to a Spanish title. He also bagged 12 goals in just ten Champions League matches, which led the competition. He’s dealt with several injuries early on this season, but has still scored five goals and added four assists in just six appearances for Barca.

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Ronaldo meanwhile, was the sole reason Juventus advanced past Atletico Madrid in the Champions League earlier this year, scoring a hat-trick in the decisive second leg. In total last season, he bagged 21 goals and tallied eight assists in 31 Serie A appearances in his first year playing in Turin.

Messi might have scored more goals in league competition than Ronaldo last year, but the Portuguese legend has always been lethal in the late stages of Europe’s most prized competition. In the 2018-19 UCL campaign alone, Ronaldo scored nine times in six appearances.

van Dijk’s Brilliance Not to be Ignored

It’s not too often that a defender even gets consideration for a Ballon d’Or award, but the Netherlands center back has had a year for the ages with Champions League title-holders Liverpool. Thanks to his outstanding 2018-19 season, van Dijk was named UEFA Player of the Year, the first defender and Premier League player to ever win the award.  At 6’4″, van Dijk is a nightmare for strikers, using his huge frame to overpower opponents and win almost every aerial duel he goes up for.

He is the complete package who has superior football smarts, passing ability, and the speed to chase down attackers. The Dutchman is the heartbeat of the Liverpool backline and one of the most instrumental players on the pitch for Jurgen Klopp.

It Will Come Down to van Dijk and Messi

It’s hard to ignore Messi’s brilliance in 2018-19 and his early form this season considering the amount of time he’s missed. Ronaldo had an outstanding campaign last year but Messi’s numbers between league and European fixtures are just too impressive.

van Dijk’s form every single match for Liverpool on their way to a European title last season was nothing short of spectacular. It’s been a long time since a defender won this prestigious award, but it’s going to be tough to ignore Messi’s ruthless form in the final third. The numbers back it up.

Pick: Messi +200

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