Virgil van Dijk has been crowned UEFA's Men's Player of the Year for 2018-19.
The Liverpool defender’s outstanding form for club and country last season – which included Champions League glory, 97 points in the Premier League and a Nations League final appearance – saw him pip Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.
Van Dijk was announced as the recipient of the honour at the draw for the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, in Monaco on Thursday evening.
✨ 2018/19 UEFA Men's Player of the Year ✨ 🏆 𝐕𝐀𝐍 𝐃𝐈𝐉𝐊 #UEFAawards | #UCLdraw
— ChampionsLeague (#UCLdraw) 29th Aug 17:18
The winner was decided by a vote of the 80 coaches of the teams in the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League in 2018-19, plus one journalist from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.
Upon receiving the accolade, the 28-year-old said: "First of all, I think I need to thank all of my teammates. Without all of them and without the staff, I wouldn't have achieved what I've achieved over the last year especially. I thank my family of course.
"It's been a long road but that's part of my journey, it's part of who I am. I needed it like this, I'm not a player who was 18 years old and had that rise straight away. I had to work hard for every step of the way – that's part of me and I'm very happy about that.
"I'm very proud to get this trophy and it's all credit to everyone that's helped me along the way."*
The Netherlands international had earlier picked up the Champions League Defender of the Season award for his performances en route to the Reds clinching a sixth European Cup in Madrid.