Virgil van Dijk dethrones Messi, Ronaldo, emerges UEFA player of the year; Bronze is female best footballer




England’s Lucy Bronze has been named the Uefa Women’s Player of the Year, while Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk took the men’s award.

Defender Bronze beat Lyon team-mates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the award.

She is the first English winner of the honour, voted for by top coaches in the women’s game and journalists.

Defender Van Dijk helped Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final in Madrid in June.

Van Dijk, 28, edged out Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the prestigious prize.

He is the first defender to win the award since the inaugural edition in 2010-11, with Messi and Ronaldo claiming five of the previous eight awards between them, and Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.

A revelation for Liverpool since joining from Southampton in January 2018 in a £75m deal, the Netherlands centre-back was an integral part of the side that won European football’s top prize last season and pushed eventual Premier League champions Manchester City all the way in the title race.

“I’m very proud to get this trophy. It’s credit to everyone who has helped me,” said Van Dijk, who won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award and BBC Sport website’s player of the year for 2018-19.

“I need to thank my team-mates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved. It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey.”

Bronze was unable to attend Thursday’s awards ceremony, which followed the draw for the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, in Monaco as she was appearing for England against Belgium in a friendly in Leuven.

A player at French club Lyon since 2017, Bronze was England’s star performer at the Women’s World Cup earlier this year when she won the Silver Ball as the tournament’s second-best player.

The former Sunderland, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City full-back also scored one of the goals of the tournament in England’s 3-0 quarter-final win against Norway.




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