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Van Dijk, Messi, nominated for UEFA award

Virgil van Dijk and fellow Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum pose with the trophy after Liverpool beat Tottenham in Madrid

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 15 – Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been shortlisted alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the men’s UEFA Player of the Year award.

Van Dijk helped Liverpool to their most successful Premier League season as they gained 97 points, one behind winners Manchester City, and were victorious in the Champions League, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final in Madrid.

The Netherlands international is the first defender on the three-man shortlist since the inception of the award in 2010/11, while Ronaldo has made it into the final three on all nine occasions.

Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice and three times respectively.

UEFA has also released the shortlist for the women’s prize, with England’s Lucy Bronze on the list after her Champions League win with Lyon and a successful run to the World Cup semi-final, where she claimed the Silver Ball for being the second-best player at the tournament.

Bronze’s competitors for the award are both team-mates with her at Lyon – French midfielder Amandine Henry and Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg.

The men’s shortlist of three players is selected by a jury composed of 80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, together with 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.

For the women’s award, the shortlist of three players is selected by a jury composed of the coaches of the 12 highest-ranked teams in the latest UEFA women’s national team rankings, together with the coaches of the eight clubs which participated in the quarter-finals of the 2018/19 UEFA Women’s Champions League and 20 specialised women’s football journalists.

The awards will be presented at the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony, which will take place in Monaco on Thursday, August 29.

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-By Sky Sports-

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