Liverpool News: Ballon d'Or prospect exciting for Virgil van Dijk but winning titles bigger goal for the defender
What's the story?
The Dutch centre-back said he is excited by the prospect of being a strong contender for the acclaimed prize, but his focus remains on winning more trophies with The Reds, especially the Premier League title, which they missed out on last season despite a record haul of points.
In case you didn't know...
No defender has won the Ballon d'Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, the year he won the World Cup with Italy, but the towering Van Dijk is a strong contender to break the drought for defenders, with him being an odds-on favourite for this year's award.
Having won the UEFA Champions League with the Reds in a campaign in which he was arguably their best player, he has a strong claim for the coveted individual award.
The heart of the matter
Van Dijk had a great season with Liverpool and the Netherlands and the only major disappointments in the campaign were missing out on the Premier League title and UEFA Nations League, having come tantalizingly close to lifting both the trophies.
On the prospect of him being a Ballon d'Or favourite, he said that though he was excited by the talk, the result is something beyond his control. He told Sky Sports:
"If people are talking about it - you can't say it doesn't [excite you]."
"But it's a subject we don't have any influence on. I can't change anything right now other than get fit, stay fit and that's the situation."
He said that like all footballers being named the best player on the planet would be a dream come true and he would be extremely proud in that case. He continued:
"Winning something like that is a dream come true for every footballer in the world. If you don't then you just get on with it and try to perform better than last year."
"It would be fantastic and I would be very proud."
But he also mentioned that despite all the hype about Ballon d'Or, his main focus is to bring even more silverware to Anfield over the years. He added:
"But the main thing will be to focus on what we do all together and achieving the bigger goal - that's getting silverware with the club."
Liverpool face Sporting in their next friendly tomorrow, in which van Dijk is bound to start, given that they've now lost two matches in a row.