On Thursday the 29th of August, Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk was named the UEFA Champions League Defender of the year 2018/19.
The 28-year-old Dutch centre-back joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2018 January, for a reported fee of €84.65million (also a world record until recently) – and since then, he has grown to become an indispensable part of the Merseyside team.
Alisson made 12 appearances in the 2018-19 Champions League, including all of Liverpool’s knockout matches. Apart from performing well in his primary role as a defender, van Dijk also scored two goals and made two assists in the competition.
The Dutchman also made 38 Premier League appearances for the Reds last season, and his defensive prowess was widely lauded as one of the main reasons why Jurgen Klopp’s men finished their league campaign as runners-up, with 97 points – just one point behind champions Manchester City.
His best performances in last season’s Champions League came against Barcelona in the second leg of the semi-finals and against Tottenham in the final. Van Dijk kept clean sheets in both games as Liverpool eventually lifted their sixth European trophy in history.
Notably, van Dijk was also not dribbled past by any opponent player in the entire 2018-19 season. Furthermore, he also recorded the fastest sprint in by any player in the 2018-19 Champions League competition, when he clocked a speed of 34.5 kilometres per hour versus Barcelona in the semi-final.