Virgil van Dijk is the favourite to take home the Ballon d’Or trophy in 2019, and rightly so in the opinion of almost everyone who has watched the Dutchman over the last few months.
Spanish media outlet AS, however, are not happy at all. The chief reason for that is that Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos has never been in the conversation for it.
In fact, the piece goes much further than that, hinting at a conspiracy theory denying Spanish players the opportunity of winning the highly-regarded individual accolade.
Journalist Joaquin Maroto wrote in his column: “Van Dijk yes, and Sergio Ramos no? I am shocked that half the world is claiming the Golden Ball for Van Dijk. This trophy has eluded Sergio Ramos, whose numbers the Liverpool defender cannot even dream of reaching.
“The Golden Ball has historically been very unfair to the Spanish. Iniesta not winning it the year of the World Cup in South Africa was almost an affront. Not having Xavi is inexplicable. But it has also been a historically unfair trophy to defenders.”
The fact is, as good as Ramos has been over the last few years – and there can be no denying that he has been world-class, no matter how much Reds fans might dislike him – he has never been as good as Van Dijk has been over the last 12 to 18 months.
Van Dijk has transformed the Reds into one of the very best teams in the world in the short period of time that he has played for the club. If anything, the fact he is in the conversation as a defender should underline even further just how good he is, nothing else.
There’s certainly no conspiracy – Van Dijk would be a very worthy winner.