Jamie Carragher has given his verdict on the 2019 Ballon d’Or, believing Barcelona star Lionel Messi will win the award ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
Van Dijk has emerged as the favourite with the bookmakers after a superb season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, being named PFA Player of the Year and helping Liverpool to Champions League success.
Despite the Dutchman’s impressive season, former Anfield favourite Carragher believes it will be Messi who is crowned as the world’s best later this year.
“I saw he’s gone ahead of Messi in the betting. I’d be thinking Messi to be honest – very rarely you see a centre-back get that,” Carragher said on Sky Sports after Van Dijk’s Netherlands were beaten by Portugal in the Nations League final.
“I think that Cannavaro got it on the back of winning the World Cup in 2006.
“I don’t think his game has changed too much over the season. He’s obviously had a great season but I think you’ve got to win big things and I think that Champions League has put that stamp on him being one of the world’s best.
“When we spoke earlier this season we always spoke about Pique and Ramos not necessarily that they were performing better than Van Dijk – but they have the medals for club and country.
“That’s why he’ll be disappointed today [missing out on Nations League]. Obviously it’s not a World Cup or a Euros but it’s just that nice little trophy for his country.
“But I think when you win something big, that’s when you really cement yourself at that level and I think he is the best in the world in that position. He’s proven himself.
“But, Ballon d’Or, I think Messi.”
Babel: "Virgil Van Dijk should be considered for the Ballon d'Or" pic.twitter.com/lX5PNbpEC5
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 10, 2019