LONDON, Aug 30 : Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk has been named UEFA Men's Player of the Year for 2018-2019, the European football governing body announced on Thursday.
The Dutch international won the award by beating off competition from three-time UEFA Men's Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and two-time winner Lionel Messi. The 28-year-old centre-back received the trophy on stage in Monaco during the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.
"I'm very proud to get this trophy. It's a credit to everyone who has helped me," said Van Dijk. "I need to thank my team-mates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved. It's been a long road and it's part of my journey."
Van Dijk was named man of the match in the UEFA Champions League final in which Liverpool lifted the trophy for the sixth time by edging out Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid. Since arriving from Southampton in January 2018, Van Dijk kept more clean sheets than any defender in Europe's top five leagues last season.
The jury comprised 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League (32) and UEFA Europa League (48), along with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, one from each of UEFA's member associations. Jury members picked their top three players, with the first receiving five points, the second three and the third one. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
England defender Lucy Bronze was named the UEFA Women's Player of the Year, beating Lyon team-mates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the award. (XINHUA)