Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Beaten to UEFA Player of Year Award

Published 08/30/2019, 7:32 AM EDT

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk staved off stiff competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. In addition to that, he also bagged the Defender of the Season award for the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League. Van Dijk’s contribution last season helped his club lift their sixth Champions League trophy.


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Back in May, the Dutch defender was the Premier League Player of the Season, the first defender to doing so in seven seasons. The last defender to win was Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany in 2011-12, who has recently moved to RSC Anderlecht. Va Dijk’s other accolade include, the 2018-19 PFA Players’ Player of the Season, Liverpool Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Season.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi took home the Forward of the Season award for the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League campaign. The Argentine star amassed 285 points, almost double the tally of second-placed Sadio Mane, who had 109 points.


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Virgil van Dijk

The full list of awardees is as follows:

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year: Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyonnais)

Best players of the 2018/19 Champions League

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Defender: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

UEFA President’s Award: Eric Cantona

At the same time, the draws for the 2019-20 Champions League season was announced. In Group A, Real Madrid will be pitted against Paris Saint-Germain, with the other two teams being, Club Brugge and Galatasaray.

In Group B, Bayern Munich will square off against last year’s semifinalists, Tottenham Hotspurs, along with Olympiacos and FK Crvena Zvezda.

Group C consists of Manchester City, who have a fairly easy draw, with Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atlanta.

Group D will see Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus facing Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moskva.

Reigning champions, Liverpool will be in Group E and also face a fairly easy draw, with Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk.

However, Group F is slated to be the Group of Death, as FC Barcelona face off against Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan, with Slavia Praha taking the other slot.


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Group G consists of teams who could be potential giant-killers, as Zenit, SL Benfica, Olympique Lyon and RB Leipzig duke it out.

Finally, in Group H, Chelsea will go up against last season’s giant killers, Ajax, along with Valencia and Lille OSC.

In the meanwhile, Liverpool will continue their Premier League campaign when they face Burnley on Saturday. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will face Napoli on Sunday in their Serie A game. On the other hand, Lionel Messi’s Barcelona will meet Osasuna on Saturday in their La Liga tie.


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Barca got off to a bad start, with one win and a loss, placing them 9th in La Liga. Juventus are fairing no better, lying in 7th in spite of winning, as their goal difference has not helped their cause.

On the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool are sitting pretty on top of the Premier League table with a 2-point cushion to Manchester City.



Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.