LONDON (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Virgil van Dijk would have been a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or but understands why Lionel Messi lifted it for a sixth time.
The Dutch captain came second to the Argentina forward despite playing a huge role as Liverpool won the Champions League last season, overcoming Messi’s Barcelona in the semi-final.
“I see it slightly different and a lot of people see it slightly different but that’s absolutely no problem,” said Klopp.
“Lionel Messi, I’ve said probably 500,000 times in my life already, is probably the best player I saw in my lifetime.
“But I cannot remember a more impressive season from a defender ever. Honestly. So it would have been right if Virg won it. I heard it was pretty close.”
Klopp’s men are likely to be in contention for individual awards again next year should they finally end a 30-year wait to win a league title.