Virgil van Dijk at the Ballon d'Or ceremony (Photo/ Virgil van Dijk Twitter)

New Delhi [India], Dec 4 : After missing out on the Ballon d’Or, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk released a statement saying that it was an honour for him to be nominated for the award alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

On Monday, Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or and went ahead of Ronaldo, who has won the award five times.

Van Dijk released a statement on Twitter, saying: “It was a great privilege to attend the ceremony. I was humbled by the warm reception that I received in Paris and I would like to say thank you to everyone who made us feel so welcome. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Lionel Messi on winning your historic sixth Ballon d’Or.

“On a personal level, it was an honour to be nominated and I am extremely proud to have come second and in the same company as two of the greatest players to ever play the game in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo,” he added.

If van Dijk had won the Ballon d’Or, then he would have become the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

Ronaldo was absent from the award ceremony. He finished at the third spot in the rankings list for Ballon d’Or. It was the first time since 2011 that Ronaldo failed to feature in the top two.

In the rankings for the award, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane finished fourth while his team-mate Mohamed Salah was placed at the fifth spot.


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