Virgil Van Dijk is deservedly in the running to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
The centre-back has enjoyed a remarkable season for Liverpool, winning the PFA Player of the Year award en route to claiming the Champions League.
Indeed, Van Dijk has Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman’s vote when it comes to the Ballon d’Or.
“It’s usually handed to players who make or create decisive goals, but if there ever is a time to give it to a defender, it is now,” Koeman said, per Goal.
Koeman watched on as Van Dijk helped his country seal a place in the UEFA Nations League final with a 3-1 win against England on Thursday.
The Dutch colossus was as good as ever, bullying Raheem Sterling off the ball at one point.
Yet, quite ridiculously, he was on the receiving end of boos from England supporters every time he touched the ball.
LINEKER: VAN DIJK BOOS WERE EMBARRASSING
Quite why anyone felt the need to boo Van Dijk isn’t clear.
The Times’ Chief Football Writer Henry Winter highlighted the absurdity of it all on Twitter.
“Virgil van Dijk, PFA Player of the Year, imperious Liverpool footballer, European champion, role model, class act on and off the field, supporter of the Red Cross, paid for Christmas party at Anfield for 120 kids suffering from cancer, is being booed by England fans,” he wrote.
And Gary Lineker was also unimpressed, reacting to Winter by putting: “Embarrassing.”
Van Dijk should consider it a compliment, really.
Opposition fans are now booing him just because he’s so good.
The 27-year-old now has an opportunity to add more silverware to his collection when the Netherlands take on Portugal in the Nations League final.
Saturday’s match will put Van Dijk against Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Liverpool centre-back has reminded everyone that Portugal aren’t a one-man team.
“We’ll see. It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo we’re going to face, we face a great Portugal. We will see what’s going to happen,” Van Dijk told reporters, per Goal.
“I’m looking forward to playing this final with this team, and we’re going to give everything that we can to hopefully hold that trophy in the end and do everyone proud.”
What a matchup it promises to be.