Virgil van Dijk has been crowned UEFA's Men's Player of the Year for 2018-19.
The Liverpool defender’s outstanding form for club and country last season – which included Champions League glory, 97 points in the Premier League and a Nations League final appearance – saw him pip Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.
Van Dijk was announced as the recipient of the honour at the draw for the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, in Monaco on Thursday evening.
✨ 2018/19 UEFA Men's Player of the Year ✨ 🏆 𝐕𝐀𝐍 𝐃𝐈𝐉𝐊 #UEFAawards | #UCLdraw https://t.co/B6PurZkmK7— ChampionsLeague (UEFA Champions League) 29th Aug 17:18
The winner was decided by a vote of the 80 coaches of the teams in the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League in 2018-19, plus one journalist from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.
Upon receiving the accolade, the 28-year-old said: "First of all, I think I need to thank all of my teammates. Without all of them and without the staff, I wouldn't have achieved what I've achieved over the last year especially. I thank my family of course.
"It's been a long road but that's part of my journey, it's part of who I am. I needed it like this, I'm not a player who was 18 years old and had that rise straight away. I had to work hard for every step of the way – that's part of me and I'm very happy about that.
"I'm very proud to get this trophy and it's all credit to everyone that's helped me along the way."
The Netherlands international had earlier picked up the Champions League Defender of the Season award for his performances en route to the Reds clinching a sixth European Cup in Madrid.