3 events that could help Virgil van Dijk win the Ballon d'Or
Virgil van Dijk has been in red hot form this season with the Liverpool defender taking the club to its second Champions League final in 2 years and a second place finish in the Premier League. He has been the best defender in Europe this season with the incredible record of never being dribbled past this season, and has been awarded EPL's Player of the Year .
He could also be in contention for the Ballon d'Or, and could well be the only defender after Fabio Cannavaro to win the prestigious award. He is facing stiff competition from Lionel Messi who had an amazing season and bagged the European Golden shoe. The odds are really in the Argentine's favor right now.
So here are 3 events that would help Van Dijk win the Ballon d'Or:
#1 Win the Champions League final
Winning the Champions League plays a big role in the Ballon d'Or. The last 5 winners of the prestigious award won the Champions League in those respective years. Liverpool are favorites to beat Spurs at Madrid, and Van Djik could play a big part in that, keeping the attacking forces of Tottenham at bay.
van Dijk has played a major part in Liverpool's run to the final. Keeping the famed attack of Barcelona quiet at Anfield was no simple job. Since Lionel Messi, his competitor for the award, is already out of the UCL, winning the tournament could increase the chances for Van Djik to winning the coveted Ballon d'Or.
#2 Winning the UEFA Nations League with Netherlands
UEFA Nations League is the first major European national trophy this year with Netherlands, England, Portugal, and Switzerland set to battle it out in the semifinals. Perfomance for the respective national teams are very important for Ballon d'Or contestants, and winning the Nations League will be another feather in the cap for van Dijk.
Netherlands have their semi-final match against England who are a young team with immense talent and would be very tough to beat. In the finals, the most probable opponents would be Portugal, who are favorites to beat Switzerland. Defending against world class attackers like Ronaldo, Kane, and Sterling in the tournament, Netherlands will need all the defensive help they can get.
Going though these tough battles and finally coming out on top is a very difficult task and would be catapult van Dijk closer to the Ballon d'Or.
#3 Messi not winning the Copa America
Lional Messi has been the best attacker in Europe this season, winning the European Golden shoe and the Pichichi trophy, but he has only one trophy this season. He has another chance to win a trophy for his national team, with the Copa America coming around this summer.
The Argentine has a very bad reputation of faltering in big finals for the national team with whom he has lost a World Cup final and also a Copa America final. Winning the Copa America could ensure Messi of the Ballon d'Or. With strong teams such as Brazil and Uruguay in the competition, that would be a very difficult task.
If Messi fails to win the Copa America and Van Djik wins the Champions League and Nations League, the Dutchman will have very good shot at the Ballon d'Or this December.