Liverpool News: Sergio Ramos reckons Virgil van Dijk deserves the Ballon d'Or, ahead of favourites Ronaldo and Messi
What's the story?
Spain and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has backed fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk to win the Ballon d'Or 2019, following a stunning 2018/19 campaign with Liverpool in which he won the Champions League and the PFA Player of the Year.
In case you didn't know...
No defender has won the acclaimed prize since Italy's Fabio Cannavaro was crowned the winner in 2006.
Van Dijk beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the UEFA Men's Player of the Year accolade at the recently concluded UEFA awards ceremony, where he was also rewarded with UEFA Best Defender of the Year award for his efforts throughout the past season.
In the recently released EA Sports FIFA 20 ratings, the Dutchman came out on top as the highest-rated defender, ahead of Ramos, who was the best defender in the previous instalment of the popular football game franchise.
The heart of the matter...
Sergio Ramos, who became a hated figure for the Anfield faithful ever since his infamous antics in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final, hailed Liverpool hero van Dijk as being a worthy contender for the Ballon d'Or this year.
He expressed his delight over the fact that after all these years, a defender is being seriously considered as the favourite for the coveted award, that has been focused too much on the forwards of the game in recent years, particularly Messi and Ronaldo, who've shared it on ten occasions in the last 11 years.
Speaking to a press conference at the presentation of his documentary series, El Corazón Ramos said:
"It's tough to assess the criteria for individual awards. Van Dijk is a wonderful centre-back and he deserves to be there."
"Most of the talk is about forwards so the idea a player in a different position could win it is something positive."
He also added that football is a team sport and to choose winners for such individual awards will always be difficult. He continued:
"Ultimately, football is a collective sport and it's not easy to assess an individual award because you don't know the criteria."
His documentary will be available for the subscribers on Amazon Prime.
After a good performance in the EURO 2020 qualifiers for Spain, Ramos will be back in action for Los Blancos this weekend when they host LaLiga rivals Levante in the league fixture.
The 13-time UCL champions will later take on French champions Paris Saint-Germain in their Group A fixture.