Virgil van Dijk has pulled ahead to become the bookmakers’ favourite to win this season’s prestigious Ballon d’Or honour.
The Liverpool defender helped his side to become European champions for the sixth time in their history in Madrid, and now is sparring with Lionel Messi for the title of Europe’s top player.
Van Dijk added to his cause this week when captaining Holland to a crunch victory over England and a place in the finals of the UEFA Nations League.
Now the Liverpool man appears set to scoop the biggest personal accolade of them all.
Following Holland’s result, Van Dijk shifted up among the bookmakers to feature as the frontrunner for Ballon d’Or glory.
Lionel Messi currently occupies second place, while many place another Liverpool star in Sadio Mane at third.
Mohamed Salah remains fourth in line, at present, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raheem Sterling following thereafter.
Van Dijk has already helped himself to PFA Player of the Year in the Premier League this season, after transforming Jurgen Klopp’s back line into the country’s most water-tight.
Should he scoop the Ballon d’Or and take over from last year’s winner Luka Modric, Van Dijk would become the first defender to take the top prize since Italian icon Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
Van Dijk and Holland will go up against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the final of the UEFA Nations League in Porto’s Estadio Do Dragao on Sunday, June 9.