Virgil van Dijk says he is relaxed about speculation surrounding him winning the Ballon d’Or in 2019.
The Dutch defender has been simply exceptional since arriving from Southampton, and even though most knew he would become a top-class player, few would have had him down as a potential award winner like this just 18 months on.
Earlier this week, Van Dijk moved ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to become the favourite to win the award, which is announced in December each year.
Having had such a huge impact on the Reds over the last few months, culminating in the Champions League win in Madrid, he surely has a great chance of becoming the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro to win it. Van Dijk is not getting carried away, though.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, he said: “It’s an honour that people are talking about it, but what can I do? I have no influence on anything. The people that have an influence on it, they have to decide who’s going to win it.
“I can’t deny that I’ve had a pretty good season last year, so the only thing I can do now is just focus on the new season, getting fit, stay fit and hopefully get an even better season than I had last year.
“I can understand the fact that normally strikers or number 10s win these kind of awards because it’s more attractive to see. But maybe the time has come to change it.”
Start next season the same way he ended the last and there will surely be no debate about him winning it. The main thing is, of course, team trophies, but winning a few individual awards between the players along the way cannot be a bad thing.