Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk should win the Ballon d’Or if the prestigious award is to keep its integrity.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum have all joined Van Dijk in the list of 30 nominated players for this year’s award with usual suspects Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also included.
Luka Modric’s Champions League triumph with Real Madrid and run to the World Cup final with Croatia led to him being the current holder of the 2018 award, which is organised and handed out by French magazine France Football.
The winner of the 2019 Ballon d’Or will be announced in Paris on December 2 with Klopp convinced that Liverpool’s kingpin Van Dijk has been, hands down, the best player in Europe over the last 12 months.
“If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of his generation, you give it always to Lionel Messi, that’s how it is,” Klopp told Reuters.
“If you give it to the best player of last season then it was Virgil van Dijk.
“I don’t know exactly how it will work but that’s how I see it.
“If it’s for the best player, the best player at all, and of all, then it’s Lionel, (but if it is for) best player of last season, (then it’s) Virgil. We will see.”
Sadio Mane, Sergio Aguero, Frenkie de Jong, Hugo Lloris, Dusan Tadic
Kylian Mbappe, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Donny van de Beek, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Cristiano Ronaldo, Alisson, Matthijs de Ligt, Karim Benzema, Georginio Wijnaldum
Virgil van Dijk, Bernardo Silva, Son Heung-min, Robert Lewandowski, Roberto Firmino
Lionel Messi, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Antoine Griezmann
Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard, Marquinhos, Raheem Sterling, Joao Felix