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  • David Tyrer

Liverpool defender scoops UEFA Men's Player of the Year award

The UEFA Champions League Group Stage draw took place this afternoon, with Liverpool being drawn in a group with Napoli (once again), Salzburg and Genk.

Van Dijk also took home the UEFA Defender of the Year, the first time a Liverpool player has won that particular award.

But it's the victory in the Men's UEFA overall Player of the Year category that is most impressive, and also lends some idea to how the Ballon D'Or might turn out next month.

The only previous Liverpool player to take the overall award was Steven Gerrard in 2005 and the fact the Luca Modric narrowly won the award last year suggests that Van Dijk, who finished on 305 vote, almost 100 ahead of Messi in second place, is in line for the big one!

Speaking upon receiving his award, the 28 year old said: "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."


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