The Dutchman is the 4/6 favourite at the moment, with Messi just behind at 6/5 and five-time winner Ronaldo on odds of 12/1.
An explanation for his outpacing of Messi would be the Barcelona star’s semi-final exit from the Copa América with Argentina, to go along with Barça’s incredible semi-final elimination from the Champions League at the hands of the Reds. That is, if trophies are the final criteria of judgement.
While, of course, Van Dijk himself was quoted as saying: “I think Messi is the best player in the world and I think he deserves it as long as he plays.”
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) July 4, 2019
Individually, neither Ramos nor Varane have dominated an entire season like Virgil van Dijk has in 18/19 for club and country. He’s led us to 97 points in the league on his way to winning the PFA POTY and won the European Cup. The Ballon d’Or shouts are completely justified.
— RF9 🇧🇷 (@SambaRole) July 4, 2019
Beyond the top three, Mo Salah brings up fourth-place in the odds reckoning on 18/1, while fellow Red, Sadio Mané, sits pretty alongside Eden Hazard on 25/1.
Alisson Becker is also a name the bookies are considering, with his chances of landing the Ballon d’Or to go with his Golden Glove at 66/1.
The world’s most expensive defender, and arguably the world’s best at the moment, Van Dijk has been a revolutionary mainstay at the heart of the Reds’ defence and helped Jürgen Klopp’s side to 21 Premier League clean sheets as they minutely missed out on the title.
After being awarded the POTY this season, he became the first defender since John Terry – 14 years ago – to be honoured with the title.
Coupled with marshalling the Reds to European glory in Madrid with some absolutely world-beating performances, it’s no wonder his name is on everyone’s lips for the Ballon d’Or to be awarded in September.