By Scott Mason – @ScottMason00
The Ballon d’Or is the pinnacle of individual awards in football.
It recognises the world’s best player within a calendar year and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is the current favourite to be the next recipient of the prestigious prize.
The ‘Golden Ball’ isn’t the only award that the defender will be in contention for. FIFA’s terribly-named ‘The Best’ awards will also crown their very own best player in the world as well as the FIFPro World 11 – a team consisting of the best goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards.
The Dutchman enjoyed a remarkable season with the Reds that culminated in a Champions League trophy and a PFA Player of the year award. Virgil also managed to reach the Nations League final where, unfortunately, he would lose out to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
The defender’s competition for the right to be called the world’s best player will include the likes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – players who are usually mentioned in the debates about who is the greatest player of all-time.
However, the centre-half said in an interview with LFC TV that, whilst it’s an honour to be mentioned for the award, he is focusing on his performances for Liverpool instead.
He said: “It’s an honour if people are talking about it, but what can I do? I have no influence on anything. The people that have an influence on it, they have to decide who’s going to win it.
“I can’t deny that I’ve had a pretty good season last year, so the only thing I can do now is just focus on the new season, getting fit, stay fit and hopefully get an even better season than I had last year.”
So, with Liverpool’s record signing on his way to multiple individual honours for his amazing year, let’s find out how much you know about Liverpool’s history with the Ballon d’Or and FIFA awards.