The Reds center-half pushed Lionel Messi from the 2019 vote, but an iconic countryman believes prestigious prizes will always be handed to forward.
Liverpool celebrity Virgil van Dijk is not likely to win the Ballon d’Or despite pushing Lionel Messi near in 2019, says Ruud Gullit, with the Dutch amazing anticipating defenders to be missed in future votes.
A stunning 12 months to get a Netherlands global center-half pushed him into contention for the most prestigious of individual prizes.
Van Dijk did scoop the UEFA Player of the Year award, but was edged out by Barcelona talisman Messi as it came to the FIFA Very Best Speeches and iconic Golden Ball.
Gullit fears the 28-year-old will not get a better opportunity to sit on top of the world, with players in his position set to stay on the fringes of the fold when it comes to choosing from the international elite.
“The message of this Ballon d’Or was, he is never going to win it,” Gullit told JOE of his fellow countryman.
Pressed on whether he believes Van Dijk should have won, the former AC Milan and Chelsea star said: “Yeah, I think he should.
“But, you know, you can not say Messi did not deserve it. However, if there was an option to create a stand to get a defender, it was this season.”
Gullit isn’t surprised to have seen Van Dijk snubbed, as defenders have fought to earn recognition for ages.
Fabio Cannavaro bucked that trend after captaining Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, but many other iconic figures are overlooked.
“[Arrigo] Sacchi said that Van Dijk could not win it because, otherwise, [Franco] Baresi should have won it,” Gullit added on a mythical figure he once played at San Siro.
“If Baresi did not win it, why should he win it? That is what he said. He did not say he did not deserve it, but he said they are never going to give it to a defender. That is what he said, and that is a shame.
“That is why I say, it almost looks like they say’Look, you are never going to be a contender except for the Ballon d’Or’.”
While he missed out on the Ballon d’Or in 2019, Van Dijk did get his hands on Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup crowns with Liverpool.
He’s also helped the Reds to start up a 25-point lead in what is now a one-sided struggle for the Premier League title in 2020.