Whatever Chris Sutton has been smoking, we’ll have some of the same, as the former Premier League striker has said that Virgil van Dijk would be his pick to win the Ballon d’Or.
The Liverpool defender has been named on the 30-man shortlist to win the Ballon d’Or, but while everyone has been talking about the possibility of Luka Modric or Kylian Mbappe breaking the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi domination of the award, former Blackburn and Celtic forward Sutton has been gone in a decidedly untraditional direction.
There were a number of raised eyebrows when the Reds agreed to pay £75 million to add van Dijk to the long list of players swapping St Marys for Anfield last January, but there can be little doubt as to the effect that the 27-year-old has had on Jurgen Klopp’s back line.
However, while he has certainly strengthened the Liverpool defence and made them one of the favourites to win the Premier League title this season, making him a leading contender for Ballon d’Or is a bit too much for us to handle.
“It may not be fashionable to mention a defender when you have a conversation like this, but when you look at the difference Virgil van Dijk has made to Liverpool then you can see just how good he is,” Sutton told the BBC.
“There is not an attribute you need as a defender that he does not have, he is quick, strong, consistent and he does not seem to lose his concentration.
“He also has tremendous distribution when he is on the ball, and he reads the game so well. He has got the lot.
“There will be a clamour for Eden Hazard and other attacking players, and I understand that, but Van Dijk has shown the difference a brilliant defender can make to any side.”
With 2018 being a World Cup year, and the Netherlands not even qualifying, and Liverpool not adding to their collection of trophies, we certainly wouldn’t recommend going down to the bookies and throwing your last fiver on van Dijk to win the Ballon d’Or, especially when you consider that only one centre-back has ever won the famous golden ball (World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro in 2006).