Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk on Thursday won Uefa men’ s player of the Year in Monaco.
The defender helped Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final in Madrid in June.
Van Dijk, 28, edged out Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the prestigious prize.
He is the first defender to win the award since the inaugural edition in 2010-11, with Messi and Ronaldo claiming five of the previous eight awards between them, and Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.
A revelation for Liverpool since joining from Southampton in January 2018 in a £75m deal, the Netherlands centre-back was an integral part of the side that won European football’s top prize last season and pushed eventual Premier League champions Manchester City all the way in the title race.
“I’m very proud to get this trophy. It’s credit to everyone who has helped me,” said Van Dijk, who won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award and BBC Sport website’s player of the year for 2018-19.
“I need to thank my team-mates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved. It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey.”