Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has opened up about his chances against Lionel Messi for the 2019 Ballon d'Or after winning the UEFA Champions League.
Van Dijk, 27, won the PFA Players' Player of the Year for his performances in the 2018/19 season has seen him emerge as one of the finest defenders in European football.
The Dutchman held a unique record of not being dribbled past by any opponent throughout the Premier League and Champions League this season - and becoming the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro to lift the most coveted individual honour in football appears realistic.
But the collosal figure in the Reds defence feels the media furore surrounding his displays cannot compare to that of the FC Barcelona captain - who scored 51 goals and registered 22 assists in 50 games this season.
"I think Messi is the best player in the world," he told reporters, as per AS. "He deserves it as long as he plays, so the Ballon d'Or is not something I'm thinking of.
"If it happens obviously I would take it, but I don't think there is any [chance]. He is still the best player in the world. It doesn't matter if he's not in the Champions League final."