- Virgil van Dijk is favored to win the Ballon d’Or 2019
- UCL triumph in Madrid lifted the Dutchman’s chances
- Barcelona’s collapse hurt Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi
Virgil van Dijk has moved smoothly into position as the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or after overtaking Lionel Messi in the running for soccer’s most prestigious individual award.
In a reflection of Liverpool’s supremacy over Barcelona in the Champions League, Reds defender van Dijk is now rated at -125 at Bovada to lift the prize in December.
Ballon d’Or 2019 Odds
|Player||Ballon d’Or Odds at Bovada|
|Virgil van Dijk||-125|
Odds taken 06/14/19
Five-time winner Messi stand at even after Barca’s disappointing end to the season just finished. That is despite the fact that he scored 51 goals in all competitions for his club in the season just finished.
Messi could leap-frog back into the lead if Argentina win the Copa America, which started on Friday and in which he is likely to be an instrumental figure.
Disappointing result last night but we should be proud as a group for how far we’ve come in a short space of time together. There’s bigger and better things ahead for this team. Congratulations to Portugal 👏 #DutchLions 🦁 pic.twitter.com/8S3soraasv
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) June 10, 2019
Although five-times winner Cristiano Ronaldo won the European Nations League with Portugal last Sunday, he is rated third in Ballon d’Or odds at +1200.
The disappointment of Juventus’s last eight exit from the Champions League harmed his hopes. There will be no major opportunity in the opening half of next season to match the achievements of either van Dijk or Messi. So it will be a “two-horse race.”
Virgil van Dijk is World’s Leading Defender
Dutchman van Dijk is a supremely assured and elegant center-back whose majestic physical style and intuitive reading of the game have made him the world’s leading defender.
His fabulous displays provided the platform for Liverpool’s astonishing comeback against Barcelona in the UCL semifinal and their subsequent victory against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.
If the Greeks had a God of defence it would be called Virgil van Dijk 🔐 pic.twitter.com/axCXWL5Rnz
— LFC (@RockyKlopp) June 6, 2019
Barcelona won the first leg of the last four tie 3-0 at Camp Nou. But in a remarkable turn-around, Liverpool won 4-0 in the return match at Anfield.
It was the beginning of a torrid spell which ruined the finish to Messi’s season.
Barca had already won the La Liga title before the tie against Liverpool. But after the dramatic exit from the UCL, they also lost in the final of the Copa Del Rey against Valencia.
Van Dijk was also a leading figure in Liverpool’s desperately close attempt to win the EPL title.
Although they finished second by one point to Manchester City, Liverpool lost only league game all season – against City.
The former Groningen and Celtic defender also helped the Netherlands reach the final of UEFA’s Nations League tournament.
By many he's regarded as the greatest player in the world, even of all time.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 13, 2019
Virgil van Dijk Hailed by Fellow Players
Significantly, van Dijk won English soccer’s PFA Player of the Year award, which is voted for by his fellow players in the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The purchase of 27-year-old Van Dijk from Southampton for $126.5 million in December 2017 is seen as the most important factor in propelling Liverpool back among soccer’s elite under Jurgen Klopp.
Along with the $111 million signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Allison Becker from Roma in July 2018, it solved the defensive frailty which had been holding back Klopp’s team.
Lionel Messi has made the most assists in football history. An all-time record 162 in Spanish La Liga and also an all-time record 11 in Conmebol's Copa America. He has delivered a total of 271 official assists for both Barca and Argentina..
And he is not even a MIDFIELDER.. pic.twitter.com/LoVdr1mUxc
— M10 (@M10FCBarca) June 6, 2019
Van Dijk’s Liverpool teammates Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane are among the outsiders for the Ballon d’Or. But neither has been as influential as the Dutchman.
Messi is now confronting the major flaw in his glittering career – his failure to win a major international trophy.
Despite winning 130 caps for Argentina since his debut in 2005, the only prize Messi has won is the 2008 Olympic title.
Messi is Back After Break
Argentina have been defeated in four of the last five finals of the Copa America. They are second favorites to win the current edition in Brazil.
Messi has returned from a break from international football and is determined to use his talents to turn around his nation’s fortunes and lift the elusive trophy.
Pick: Lionel Messi (Even)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.