Winning Ballon d'Or would be a...


Winning Ballon d'Or would be a "dream come true" for Virgil van Dijk

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says winning silverware with the football club is a priority, but it would be a "dream come true" to win a Ballon d'Or.

Football's biggest individual prize was won by Croatia and Real Madrid's Luka Modric in 2018 after helping his nation to the World Cup final and claiming his fourth Champions League title with the Spanish club.

Van Dijk signed for the Merseysiders at the end of 2017 for a reported world-record fee for a defender of over €83 million (£75 million), and was a constant feature in the backline throughout last season making 38 Premier League appearances as Liverpool fell short of becoming champions to Manchester City by a point on the final day.

The last time a defender won the footballer of the year prize was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, after leading Italy to a World Cup triumph. The 28-year-old Dutchman says while speaking to Sky Sports, "Winning something like that is a dream come true for every footballer in the world. If you don't then you just get on with it and try to perform better than last year.

"It would be fantastic, and I would be very proud. But the main thing will be to focus on what we do all together and achieving the bigger goal - that's getting silverware with the club."

The European Champions Liverpool are on a tour of the United States, taking part in a number of pre-season friendlies including against Spanish club Sevilla on Sunday night. The game was marred by a challenge by Sevilla defender Joris Gnagnon on Liverpool youngster Yasser Larouci.

Van Dijk had been asked if he believed his team are being targetted because they are European Champions, after beating Tottenham Hotspur in the final in Madrid in June.

"I don't think that is going to be the case. That tackle can't happen in pre-season, it can't happen at all. But especially in pre-season where it is all about getting fit, you don't want to get injured and to kick someone like that was unacceptable," he said.

"I saw it - and then when I was in the dressing room I was fuming."

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