Virgil van Dijk missed out on the 2019 Ballon d’Or last night, as Lionel Messi claimed his record sixth title of the personal accolade.
Not everyone was in agreement with the vote, and that includes AC Milan and Italy legend Franco Baresi who, in no uncertain terms, thinks the centre half should have won.
— Franco Baresi (@FBaresi) December 2, 2019
Baresi is one of the few players over the years to finish in the top three for the Ballon d’Or, while playing primarily as a defender.
The award has been dominated by attacking players for a long time now, and there is also a sense of familiarity bias, as players like Franck Ribery, Gianluigi Buffon and now Virgil van Dijk probably should have won it.
A former player who has the respect and gravitas that Baresi demands saying that Virgil was the best player this year means a lot.
To be honest, you could argue that the Italian legend saying that is worth more than a load of journalists and fellow (current) professionals collectively voting for you.
That being said, there’s no player on this Earth that would deny the Ballon d’Or so I can only imagine van Dijk isn’t happy about missing out, but at least he knows he belongs with the elite.