Virgil van Dijk should be in the running for this year's Ballon d'Or, according to two of his teammates for club and country.

The centre-back was imperious throughout 2018-19 to help Liverpool win the Champions League after racking up a club-record 97 points in the Premier League.

Van Dijk was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season in recognition of his performances for the Reds.

The Dutch missed out on UEFA Nations League success due to a 1-0 defeat by Portugal in Sunday’s final but Georginio Wijnaldum and Ryan Babel believe Van Dijk has a claim for the Ballon d’Or.

“He had a really good season, he tried to stop everyone he was playing against,” said Wijnaldum.

“It’s not up to us to decide if he wins the Ballon d’Or. For us, he’s the best defender in the world and if you look at his season he definitely deserves the Ballon d’Or. But it’s not up to us, it’s up to other people to decide that.”

Former Liverpool forward Babel, meanwhile, told Sky Sports: “The last [defender to win the award] I remember was Cannavaro in 2006, so it’s not impossible.

“I think it’s fair that he would be at least on the list. We will see at the end if he wins it – I would be very happy for him.”

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