herald

Friday 15 November 2019

Van Dijk takes on Messi and Ron

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk will renew his rivalry with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after being shortlisted alongside the two greats in The Best FIFA Football Awards.

The Holland international and Champions League winner pipped the pair to become UEFA player of the year last week and will be looking to do so again later this month when the final results are announced.

Premier League stars dominate the awards, with Liverpool's Alisson Becker and Manchester City's Ederson shortlisted for the goalkeeper accolade, along with Barcelona's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino making it a clean sweep on the shortlist for manager of the year.

Alisson had the edge on his City counterpart in terms of Premier League clean sheets last season, with 21 to his Brazil team-mate's 20, earning the Liverpool man the Golden Glove.

However, Ederson finished the campaign with more winners' medals after completing the domestic treble with City, although Alisson will view victory in the Champions League as adequate compensation.

After leading his side to victory in Madrid and contributing to one of the most thrilling title races as his side lost out by one point with a record runners-up points tally, Klopp, a losing Champions League finalist the previous year, is one of the final three on the manager's shortlist.

It is no surprise he is joined by Guardiola, who has changed the face of English football with a record-breaking City side, while Pochettino's efforts in getting Spurs to their first Champions League final are also recognised.

Phillip Neville's accomplishments were also rewarded, having revitalised the England women's team on their run to the last four.

They lost out to eventual winners the United States and one of his rivals for the award is their coach, Portsmouth-born Jill Ellis.

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