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Jurgen Klopp insists Virgil van Dijk deserved to win Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi

Virgil van Dijk

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk should have won the Ballon d'Or at Monday's ceremony in Paris.

Van Dijk finished second to Lionel Messi in this year's vote for the most prestigious individual accolade in world football.

The Dutchman inspired Liverpool to Champions League glory last season, as well as helping the Reds record a club-record points tally in the top flight.

However, Van Dijk narrowly missed out to Barcelona forward Messi, who scooped his 10th La Liga title last term.

And while Klopp acknowledged the Argentina international's status as one of the greatest footballers of all time, he believes Van Dijk would have been the worthiest winner of the prize.

"Things like this are decisions made by journalists," he said. "I see it slightly different and a lot of people see it slightly different but that’s absolutely no problem. Lionel Messi, I’ve said probably 500,000 times in my life already, is probably the best player I saw in my lifetime. Very early in my life I saw Franz Beckenbauer and Diego Maradona but I’ve seen Lionel Messi more.

"I don’t know how the others would have played nowadays – probably exceptional – but Lionel Messi is here now and he has won it six times and Cristiano [Ronaldo] five times but last season I cannot remember a more impressive season from a defender ever. Honestly. So it would have been right if Virg won it.

“I heard it was pretty close. As a group of players we won the Champions League, played an outstanding season and got 97 points and people see that as well because we cannot do that without performing players so I am really happy for them. It is nice but it is last season, so I think pretty much now all the awards are done and the boys can go for new ones.”

Liverpool will look to re-establish an 11-point lead over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City when they host Everton on Wednesday.

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