Ranking the 4 favourites to lift the Ballon d'Or: April 2019
#2 Virgil Van Djik
Probably, the most unfamiliar name in the list is Liverpool centre-back Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutch defender is enjoying a sensational season with the Reds and has been a revelation for them since joining Jurgen Klopp's in January 2018.
Defenders very rarely grab the headlines or win an individual award but Van Dijk has proven his calibre against the toughest of opponents time and again. As a result, Liverpool are top of the Premier League table with 79 points, two points above their closest competitor Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Klopp's men have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League after progressing from a tough group and defeating Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 tie. But that would not have been possible without Van Djik. Liverpool have conceded the least number of goals in the Premier League - just 19 in their 32 Premier League matches.
Liverpool paid a club-record fee to get their man last year but his £75m transfer fee looks like a bargain due to the impact of Van Dijk on the pitch. It remains to be seen whether Liverpool win any major silverware at the end of the season or not but Van Dijk remains the closest competitor to Messi due to his world-class and consistent performances.