The Liverpool stopper puts team glory above personal gongs but is honoured to be considered in the hunt for the award given to the world's best player
Virgil van Dijk has said â€˜the time has comeâ€™ for a defender to get the Ballon dâ€™Or as speculation builds thatÂ he is in the frame to scoop footballâ€™s top individual award.
The Liverpool defender has already collected the PFAâ€™s Player of the Year award as his performances at the heart of the Reds defense inspired them to Champions League glory and a second-place finish in the Premier League.
The Netherlands international said he preferred his team's win in the Champions League to personal honours, but admitted he was pleased to be considered for individual gongs as well.
â€œTo get the PFA Player of the Year is a fantastic honour,â€ Van Dijk told Liverpoolâ€™s official website, â€œitâ€™s the highest honour you can get because itâ€™s voted by your fellow peers.
â€œI said it back then as well, I would trade it for the Champions League. Luckily, I didnâ€™t have to.
â€œItâ€™s an honour if people are talking about [the Ballon dâ€™Or], but what can I do? I have no influence on anything.
â€œI canâ€™t deny I 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.
â€œI can understand the fact that normally strikers or No. 10â€™s win these awards because itâ€™s more attractive to see. But maybe the time has come to change it.â€
What an amazing evening at the PFA awards last night. I am so proud and honoured to have won such a prestigious award and feel incredibly humbled to have been recognised by my fellow professionals in this way. As I mentioned last night when I received the award there are a few people I would like to thank. Firstly and most importantly thank you to my family for always being there to support me. Thank you to everyone at FC Groningen, Celtic FC and Southampton FC for being such a crucial part of my journey and development as a player. This of course would not have been possible without the unbelievable support I have from everyone at Liverpool FC. A special thank you to the manager for showing the belief in me and to all of my teammates who help me so much in every game on the pitch. This award is for you. And of course thank you to our amazing fans for the support since Iâ€™ve been at Anfield. I love this club and have felt part of the family since the day I arrived. It was a privilege to have been there last night too to share it with Sadio, Robbo and Trent, congratulations on your trophies too ðŸ† Now time to focus on Wednesday night. See you in Barcelona. Weâ€™ll be ready #YNWA ðŸ˜
A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk) on Apr 29, 2019 at 6:39am PDT
The last defender to win the Ballon dâ€™Or was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
Looking forward to next season, Liverpoolâ€™s skipper said his team was focused on challenging on all fronts.
The Anfield club were pipped to the title by one point by Manchester City last time out, but Van Dijk believes his team have the drive and the ability to be in the hunt in 2019-20 as well.
â€œAs a team, weâ€™re going to try to compete in every competition and obviously itâ€™s going to be hard because there are so many and the league is so tough as well,â€ the 28-year-old continued, â€œbut the only thing we can do is try.
â€œWe will give everything weâ€™ve got and we have the quality as well. Weâ€™ll see where that leads us.â€