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Virgil van Dijk: Champions League Defender of the Season

Virgil van Dijk has been named Defender of the Season for the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.

Defender of the Season: Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has won the Defender of the Season award for the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League campaign.

The 28-year-old Dutchman was a colossus as the Reds won their sixth European Cup, and was named man of the match following his imperious performance in the decider in Madrid. Van Dijk also scored key goals on the way to the final, using his height and presence at both ends. As well as being named Defender of the Season, Van Dijk also picked up the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award during the UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony in Monaco.

Defender of the Season top ten

Van Dijk: We wanted to write our own history

1 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – 349 points
2 Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, now Juventus) – 205 points
3 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – 29 points
4 Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – 16 points
5 Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) – 14 points
6 Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) – 12 points
7 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) – 8 points
8= Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) – 5 points
8= Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) – 5 points
8= Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – 5 points

Van Dijk's 2018/19 in numbers

Honours: UEFA Champions League, Premier League runner-up, UEFA Nations' League runner-up

Individual accolades: UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season, PFA Players' Player of the Season, Liverpool Players' and Fans' Player of the Season

Alisson and Van Dijk celebrate reaching the final
Alisson and Van Dijk celebrate reaching the final©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA Champions League
Appearances: 12
Minutes: 1080
Clean sheets: 5
Goals conceded: 12
Goals: 2
Assists: 2

Domestic league
Appearances: 38
Goals: 4

Van Dijk testimonials

"When you have Virgil van Dijk – the giant – on the pitch, maybe it scares the opposition. For me, he is special. I have great defenders [in front of me] – Joël [Matip], Joe Gomez, Dejan [Lovren]. Everyone did a great job this season. But Virgil has something special, he is the big man."
Alisson Becker, Liverpool goalkeeper

Watch Liverpool celebrate Champions League glory

"When you see him walk out onto the pitch, you know within yourself that the attacker has got no chance against him. Virgil has basically played every minute of every game and I don't think he's put in a performance of less than 8/10, which is frightening."
Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus goalkeeper

How Van Dijk was chosen

The jury comprised the coaches of the 32 clubs in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League group stage, together with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, representing each of UEFA's member associations. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.

Jury members chose their top three players per position, with the first receiving five points, the second three and the third one. The player who received the most points in each category was named the winner.

Other award winners

UEFA Men's Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk
UEFA Women's Player of the Year: Lucy Bronze
Goalkeeper of the Season: Alisson Becker
Midfielder of the Season: Frenkie de Jong
Forward of the Season: Lionel Messi

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