Virgil van Dijk would be proud to win the Ballon d’Or crown

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has said that he would be proud to win the Ballon d’Or this year, although the main focus remains on bagging more trophies with the Merseyside giants. The Netherlands international has been a revelation since making the switch to Anfield from Southampton last year and he was hugely influential towards the Reds’ Champions League title success last term.

The trophy ended the club’s seven-year wait for silverware and Van Dijk is focused on finding more success on the team scale rather than looking at individual honours, he told Sky Sports: “If people are talking about it – you can’t say it doesn’t do you something. But it’s a subject we don’t have any influence on. I can’t change anything right now other than get fit, stay fit and that’s the situation.

Liverpool midfielder impressed with Dutch defender amid Ballon d’Or talk

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho has spoken fondly about the influence of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool. Van Dijk has been with the Reds for only 18 months but he has changed the attitude of the club’s backline to the point that they have become genuine challengers for both domestic and European titles.
Speaking to Cleber Machado, Fabinho said that he has been impressed with the showing of Van Dijk at the heart of the defence, he quipped: “One guy who impresses me a lot is van Dijk. I hadn’t particularly seen so many games of his [before I joined]. In the games I saw, I focused on the midfield there. I didn’t see much of him.

“And man, since the pre-season I arrived, following him like that, the guy is sovereign. No one beats him on the air. I think he’s been there for 64 games without being dribbled. He’s fast, and it’s funny that it seems like he doesn’t have to make effort to run. He does it that way, like a big guy, and he easily gets to the ball.”

Egypt manager Javier Aguirre fancies Mohamed Salah for the Ballon d’Or

Egypt head coach Javier Aguirre believes Mohamed Salah could get into contention for the Ballon d’Or, should he guide the national team to African Cup of Nation success. The 27-year-old experienced another top season at the club level with Liverpool and he ended the campaign by lifting the Champions League title.

Despite this, Salah remains an outsider for the title with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of him but Aguirre believes the Egyptian could make a strong push for the prestigious trophy by winning the AFCON title, he told The National: "He's helped me with the group since the beginning; he's a kind of leader. I'm really happy with him because he had an extraordinary season with his club. So I say, 'OK Mohamed, if you're able to help us win the African Cup, for sure you're going to be in the last three or four for the Ballon d'Or'. He's a very nice guy, a humble guy. He's sincere, he jokes with everybody. We have a real normal relationship."

ESPN pundit hands Eden Hazard warning amid Real Madrid transfer interest

ESPN pundit Craig Burley has said that Eden Hazard should push through a move to Real Madrid from Chelsea this summer or else he can forget about the prospect in the future. The Belgium international has just 14 months remaining on his Chelsea contract and reports have indicated that Los Blancos are eager to land his services when the transfer window reopens.

Speaking to ESPN FC, Burley indicated that Hazard can’t wait any longer to join the European champions, considering that the age won’t be by his side. He added that Los Blancos are looking into the likes of Neymar and the young Kylian Mbappe, and Hazard’s reluctance to join the club could witness them drop any future interest.

Sergio Aguero says Lionel Messi remains his pick for the Ballon d’Or

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has said that compatriot Lionel Messi remains his pick for the Ballon d’Or title. The Argentine was recently quoted stating that any player in the Champions League final should be rewarded with the prestigious accolade but he has clarify over the same by stating that he was misquoted.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Aguero said that he was asked whether he should be rewarded with the Ballon d’Or to which he added that he should have reached the Champions League final. Furthermore, he clarified that Messi remains his choice for the Ballon d’Or this year, considering his form through the course of the season.

Everton boss blown away with the recent performances of Bernard

Everton manager Marco Silva has said that he has been impressed with the performances of Bernard over the past few games for Everton. The Brazil international looked out of sorts for the Toffees during the first half of the season, but he has transformed his fortunes in the latter half, where he has become a regular from the starting lineup.

In a press conference covered by The Liverpool Echo, Silva hailed the qualities of the former Shakhtar Donetsk man, who has managed to adapt to the demands of the Premier League. He added that the Brazilian has quickly understood the tactical side of the game and has equally impressed with the defensive duties offered to him.

Neymar’s father dismisses Paris Saint-Germain exit speculation

However, speaking to ESPN FC, the player’s father has clarified that won’t be the case and the attacker is committed to the club’s cause of winning silverware across all competitions. He added that the supporters of the club can sleep easy, given the Brazilian won’t be leaving the French champions at any point of time in the coming years.

He said: “The contract is long with PSG. We are only in the second season and it is not even over yet. We have a contract we are not even halfway through. These rumours of departure will always exist, we cannot have a player like Neymar without clubs dreaming about him.Neymar’s desire to be at PSG was expressed two years ago, so the fans can sleep easy. Today Neymar does not want to leave PSG, he wants to continue to help the club win titles.”

Former Ballon d’Or winner suggests Zinedine Zidane was wise to leave Real Madrid last summer

Former Ballon d’Or winner Ruud Gullit has said that Zinedine Zidane was clever enough to leave Real Madrid last summer after it was known that Cristiano Ronaldo would be parting ways with the club. The French tactician had guided the club to a third successive Champions League crown last term but he thereafter made the surprise decision to step down from the role.

Ex-Ballon d’Or winner says Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded expectations at Juventus

Former Juventus star Pavel Nedved has said that Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded his expectations since making the summer move to the Bianconeri. The Portuguese superstar made the surprise decision to leave Real Madrid after nine seasons last year after he relished the challenge of featuring for another high-profile club in Europe.

He has since continued with his regular scoring ways at the Bianconeri and he has already contributed 21 goals for the club across all competitions to date. In an interview covered by Tuttosport, Nedved was asked whether Ronaldo has managed to meet the expectations with the Serie A holders and his response was positive while stating that the Portuguese has performed better than initially predicted.

Filipe Luis mystified why Lionel Messi did not win Ballon d’Or

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis has admitted that he is surprised by Lionel Messi’s fifth-placed finish at the 2018 Ballon d’Or ceremony. The Argentina international celebrated a La Liga and Cup double with Barcelona during the previous campaign but that was, however, not sufficient to even see him make the podium for the accolade.

Speaking to Globoesporte, Luis said that he is surprised that Messi was far off from the award, given he has regularly adapted himself to the demands of the modern game. He added that the Argentine fully deserved to win the previous Ballon d’Or and he was certainly shocked by the attacker’s failure to do so despite him playing for an arch-rival.

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