What's the story?
Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas has named his favourite to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or this year and acknowledged the importance of the Champions League in the voting process.
In case you didn't know...
Van Dijk played a crucial role in Liverpool's domestic and European campaigns, commanding a defence that has been deemed to be one of the meanest in the continent. The Dutchman helped the Reds to their first Champions League trophy since 2005 while also giving Manchester City one of the closest battles for the Premier League title ever.
Meanwhile, Messi has been in the form of his life, winning the Pichichi trophy and the European Golden Shoe for his goal-scoring exploits throughout the season. The Argentine maestro netted 51 goals in all competitions for the Blaugrana, leading them to another La Liga title.
The 31-year-old, however, missed out on European success after Barcelona succumbed to a shock defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the semi-finals of the competition.
The heart of the matter
When asked about his Ballon d'Or favourite, Fabregas exclusively told Goal, "It is very difficult, it might depend on who won the Champions League. Normally, these trophies are appointed to people who win big things. I think Messi won it in 2010 when they only won the league so it is definitely doable."
"I think it is if it is all about who is the best, then Messi is the best. No doubt about it."
"I think Liverpool have had a fantastic season, though. Potentially one of their players could be on the podium, for sure."
While Van Dijk's Netherlands recently lost the UEFA Nations League final to Portugal, Messi will feature for Argentina when they face Colombia in the Copa America tonight.Published 15 Jun 2019, 20:20 IST