Monte Carlo (AP) - Virgil van Dijk by Jürgen Klopps FC Liverpool is Europe's Footballer of the Year 2019. The Dutchman beat superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the poll and was voted the best player in the continent by UEFA in Monaco.
"I'm very proud of this award," said the 28-year-old on Thursday in Monte Carlo, thanking his teammates and his family. He is the first Dutchman and the first defender to receive the award since 2011.
In addition to van Dijk, the three-time winner Ronaldo of Juventus Turin and the two-time winner Messi from Barcelona had made it to the final round. Van Dijk also received the title of best defender of the past Champions League season.
Van Dijk had a significant share in the premier class triumph of the team coach Klopp. He was one of the Liverpool scorers in a 3-1 victory in the second round match at Bayern Munich and was in the final against Tottenham Hotspur (2: 0) voted the best player of the game. With the national team of the Netherlands, he moved into the final of the new Nations League, but lost Portugal 0-1.
The Englishwoman Lucy Bronze was named UEFA Player of the Year by French Champion and Champions League winner Olympique Lyon. Beside her, the Norwegian Ada Hegerberg and the Frenchwoman Amandine Henry were nominated. "We had a fantastic season winning the triples," Bronze said. "Every one of my teammates could have received this award today."
In addition to the main awards, the European Football Union awarded titles per position. Best goalkeeper was Alisson Becker, who won with Liverpool last season, the title in the premier class. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen had also hoped for the title. He was the only German nominated pro.
World star Lionel Messi named the UEFA jury the best striker of the past season. The title of best midfielder was given to young star Frenkie de Jong. The 22-year-old Barca newcomer had stormed with Ajax Amsterdam in the preseason in the semifinals of Europe's premier class. The awards were awarded in the context of the draw of the group phase of the Champions League 2019/20.
UEFA information on the Champions League
Information about the Champions League draw
UEFA information about the Europa League
Information about the Europa League draw
UEFA information on the award
UEFA tweet to De Jong
UEFA tweet to Van Dijk
UEFA tweet to Alisson Becker
UEFA tweet to Messi
Lucy Bronze on Twitter
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