Van Dijk and Messi Are Now Neck-and-Neck in Ballon d’Or Odds
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Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk is now odds-on favourite to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Earlier this week van Dijk was second favourite at 11/10 behind Lionel Messi to win the award, but after helping the Netherlands reach the Nations League final with victory over England in the semi-finals the Dutchman has been clipped in to 8/11 favouritism with William Hill.
Van Dijk skippered the Netherlands as they came from behind to beat Gareth Southgate's England 3-1 after extra-time in a dramatic semi-final clash.
The win over England has set up a final clash with hosts Portugal and victory for van Dijk and his Holland team-mates could see his price for the Ballon d’Or drop even further.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable season for club and country this season and his stats certainly back this up.
Van Dijk has helped Liverpool win the Champions League earlier this month with a man-of-the-match performance against Tottenham and was also instrumental in the Reds recording their highest ever points total in the Premier League, only to be pipped to the title by Manchester City.
The central defensive colossus played more minutes of any player across Europe all season and was rewarded for his stellar performances by being named PFA Premier League Player of the Year, having been 125/1 to land the gong at the start of the season.
Van Dijk has now overtaken Barcelona superstar Messi in the betting for the Ballon d’Or with the Argentine now odds against at 6/5 to win his sixth Golden Ball.
Messi still has the opportunity to upset the odds and win the Ballon d’Or, when it is announced in December, by leading Argentina to Copa America glory later this month.
Van Dijk's Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, is third favourite at 16/1 with William Hill to claim the personal accolade and that price might look a little big if he can help Egypt enjoy a successful African Cup of Nations campaign this summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be hoping to stop van Dijk's Netherlands in the final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, is also a 16/1 shot to win his sixth Ballon d’Or.
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.