Van Dijk is not the best but Messi and Ronaldo are, says Van der Vaart

A fellow Dutchman of the Liverpool defender admits the centre-half is a “special” talent, but feels two modern-day icons continue to set the standard

Virgil van Dijk is “not the best player in the world”, says fellow Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo considered to remain at the top of the global pecking order.

Many believe he has done enough to follow the lead of Luka Modric and keep Messi and Ronaldo away from a sixth Golden Ball of their respective careers.

Van der Vaart is not so sure, although he admits that comparing centre-halves with goal-getting forwards is never easy.

The former Netherlands international playmaker told Tuttomercatoweb of Van Dijk’s claims to a standing at the top of the world game: “He is not the best player in the world, but he is special.

“Messi and Ronaldo are the best, but you cannot compare defenders and attackers.