Virgil van Dijk’s performances in the Champions League final and UEFA Nations League semi final have spring boarded him ahead of Lionel Messi in the betting for the Ballon d’Or.
For 10 years in a row no one could take the Ballon d’Or title off Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the two men constantly at the centre of the best player in the world argument.
Then last year Luka Modric won both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best award, to end that decade of dominance, and now the bookies think it’ll be two years in a row
According to Oddschecker Virgil van Dijk is now the favourite to take this year’s Ballon d’Or, overtaking Messi this week, following his recent performances.
The Dutchman’s clean sheet in the Champions League final against Spurs and then win over England in the UEFA Nations League semi final has seen his price drop to 8/11 with some bookies.
Messi on the other hand had a poor end to his domestic season with Barcelona losing their three goal lead against Van Dijk’s Liverpool in the Champions League and losing in the Copa del Rey final.
He still has time to turn things around with Argentina at the Copa America but for now his odds to win a sixth Ballon d’Or are at 6/5.
Van Dijk was asked about winning football’s most prestigious award ahead of last week’s final and revealed he thinks his rival should win, saying, “I think Lionel Messi is the best player in the world. He should win the Ballon d’Or.”
“So I’m not thinking of that. But if I win, I’ll take it. Messi should win it though. He is the best in the world, whether he’s in the final or not.”
If Van Dijk were to win the award it would be the first time in 13 years that a defender wins the award. In 2006 Fabio Cannavaro was voted as the world’s best player after captaining Italy to the World Cup.
Some thought Raphael Varane might end that dry spell for defenders last year when he helped Real Madrid to their third straight Champions League success and won the World Cup with France.
After the two favourites Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are next in the betting, although both are at 20/1, and Cristiano Ronaldo completes the top five at 25/1.
Will Van Dijk win the Ballon d’Or?