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‘Was slightly disappointed,’ says Virgil van Dijk on losing Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi

Virgil van Dijk finished a close second behind Lionel Messi. While the Argentine won the award with 686 points, Van Dijk finished at 679 points.

SNS | New Delhi |

After ending a close second and losing the Ballon d’Or 2019 to Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk, for the first time, has admitted that he “was slightly disappointed” after failing to become the first Liverpool player to win the coveted trophy.

The talismanic Dutch defender, who lost to Messi by just seven votes, said that he was already informed about his second-place finish but he still decided to go to the ceremony which ended up becoming a “super night”.

“I was slightly disappointed. I decided I would still go to the ceremony – and, in the end, it was a super night. I still consider it a great achievement to be up there with the ­biggest football icons in the world,” Van Dijk was quoted as saying by English Daily Mirror.

The 28-year-old also revealed that he had a conversation with Messi and learned that the Argentine veteran has grown immense respect for him.

“I spoke to Messi during the ­evening. It was not the longest ­conversation because he doesn’t speak a lot of English. But it was still enough to make me realise that the respect between us now also runs the other way,” said the Liverpool centre-back.

Van Dijk was also speaking at length about his love for Liverpool as he praised the bond between the players.

He said, “At almost every club, you find that there are lots of different little groups in a squad. But this Liverpool bunch is ­phenomenally close together. In my opinion, Liverpool are one big ­family – and that is why this club suits me so much.”

Other than Van Dijk, Messi had surpassed the likes of Sadio Mane and his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo to take home the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.

With this award, he took his Ballon d’Or tally to six and has become the most successful player since the inception of the award, ahead of Ronaldo who has five such awards to his name.

Van Dijk finished a close second behind the Argentine superstar. While Messi won the award with 686 points, Van Dijk finished at 679 points.

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) captain Megan Rapinoe had bagged the Ballon d’Or 2019 for women.