Virgil van Dijk Claims ‘Time Has Come’ for a Defender to Win Ballon d’Or After 13-Year Wait

​Virgil van Dijk has said the wait for a defender to win the Ballon d’Or has been too long, with the last award coming the way of Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

The Dutch defender took the Premier League by storm last season, scooping the PFA’s Player of the Year award as Jurgen Klopp’s side narrowly finished second by a single point behind winners Manchester City.

It was his performances in the ​Champions League which were exemplary though, as he guided ​Liverpool to victory in the final over ​Tottenham – leaving many to suggest Van Dijk is in pole position to secure football’s top individual award.

“It’s an honour if people are talking about [the Ballon d’Or], but what can I do? I have no influence on anything,” the 28-year-old said on his club’s ​official website.

“​The people that have an influence on it, they have to decide who’s going to win it. I can’t deny I 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.”

However, the former Southampton centre half admitted that while it can be more ‘attractive’ for voters to choose a player who features more prominently at the other end of the pitch, defenders such a himself should get more of a look-in.

Virgil van Dijk

“I can understand the fact that normally strikers or number tens win these awards because it’s more attractive to see,” he added. “But maybe the time has come to change it.”