It was a night of mixed fortunes for Liverpool as defender Virgil van Dijk was pipped to the 2019 Ballon d’Or by record-six-time winner Lionel Messi, as Alisson Becker was crowned the world’s best goalkeeper in Paris on Monday.
But after transforming Jurgen Klopp’s back line since his arrival at Anfield in December 2017, runner up Van Dijk must wonder what more he has to do to clinch top spot.
He said: ‘It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.
‘I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year.’
The number of votes each player received will not be made public until Wednesday, according to France Football, and so it as yet remains unclear how close Van Dijk was to Messi in the standings.
Brazilian Becker, who was instrumental in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League campaign, picked up the Yashin Trophy at the glittering ceremony staged this year at the Theatre du Chatelet – seeing off Premier League competition from Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ederson and Hugo Lloris.
The prestigious annual awards presented by France Football – that has been dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the last decade – the latter coincidentally snubbing the ceremony with the golden gong Barcelona bound again for the first time since 2015.