Van Dijk Remains Ballon d’Or Frontrunner Ahead of Messi
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Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk remains the odds on favourite to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or after the 30-man shortlist was revealed.
Van Dijk is as short as 2/5 (-25) with 888sport to become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to win the honour of Europe's best player for 2019.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a stunning 2019 for club and country, helping Liverpool win the Champions League and leading the Netherlands to final of the inaugural Nations League final last summer.
The classy centre-back, who played more minutes of any player across Europe last season, was named UEFA Player of the Year in August and he is red-hot favourite to complete a personal double by lifting the Ballon d'Or in December.
Van Dijk has picked up where he left off last season, playing an instrumental role in Liverpool's nine-game unbeaten start to the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, while the Netherlands are also well-placed to qualify for next summer's European Championship.
Lionel Messi, who beat van Dijk to win the Best FIFA Men's player award last month, is second favourite at 2/1 (+200) with 888sport to see off the Dutchman again and claim his sixth Golden Ball prize.
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Latest Ballon D’Or Betting Odds
|Player||Odds (Fraction)||Odds (US)||Odds (Decimal)||Probability|
|Virgil van Dijk||2/5||-250||1.4||71.4%|
An 888sport spokesman said: “No defender has won the Ballon d’Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 – but we think Virgil van Dijk will buck that trend this year. The Liverpool man was imperious in the Reds’ Champions League triumph, and he’s a short price to add another prize to his trophy cabinet.
"Lionel Messi will be hoping to make it a record sixth Ballon d’Or, however – and shouldn’t be discounted. We make it a two-horse race between van Dijk and Messi for the game’s most illustrious individual award."
Liverpool dominate the 30-man shortlist following their Champions League success last season and van Dijk's Anfield team-mates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah come next in the betting with 888sport at 15/1 (+1500) and 16/1 (+1600) respectively.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished third in the Best FIFA Men’s player awards, is an 18/1 (+1800) shot to win his sixth Ballon d’Or after he won the Serie A title in his first season at Juventus and guided Portugal to Nations League success.
Liverpool and Brazil goalkeeper Alisson comes next in the betting at 20/1 (+2000) after enjoying a memorable year for club and country with success in the Champions League and Copa America.
Alisson picked up the Best Goalkeeper prize at the Best FIFA awards and was also named FIFA Fifpro Men's Team of the Year alongside van Dijk.
About the Author
Pete O'Rourke is an experienced football journalist who has worked for the Press Association, Sky Sports, ESPN and others across three decades in the industry.