Virgil van Dijk with his UEFA awards

Rio Ferdinand criticizes decision to award Virgil van Dijk, UEFA player-of-the-year

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has expressed is displeasure at the award of Virgil van Dijk with the European player-of-the-year.

Ferdinand despite pronouncing Virgil van Dijk as currently the defender in the world was not carried away by his performance last season, but felt he did not deserve the award over Messi and Ronaldo.


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“There’s no doubt Virgil van Dijk is the best defender on the planet right now,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“But listen, when a man scores 50 goals in a season like Messi did, or Cristiano winning trophies like he did and the effect he’s had in a new championship and at national level – you can’t look beyond that.

“People saying it’s a bit boring those two winning it every year, but they are putting up numbers we haven’t seen before for 12 to 15 years. You can’t look beyond that.

“I’m a centre-half and I’m delighted he’s won it but when you’ve got someone scoring 50 goals a season you can’t do that. They’re the best.

“Messi and Ronaldo have been penalised for the standards they’ve set it’s become boring for some people.”

Van Dijk was key for Liverpool as the won the Champions League last season and also finished second in the English Premier League. He was eventually nominated for the UEFA player of the year award, alongside forwards Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo where he came out victorious.


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