Virgil van Dijk led Liverpool to a historic Champions League victory over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona last season. However, the Dutch defender couldn’t get one over the Argentinean forward at the recently concluded FIFA awards in Milan.

These two, along with Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus, were the prime candidates for the FIFA Player of the Year award, but Messi claimed the accolade.

Messi won the award on the back of 46 per cent of scoring points while Van Dijk could claim only 38 per cent of points. Ronaldo was close behind with 36 per cent of votes.

The jury included captains and manager of international teams and also designated media officials from member countries. Each jury member had to name his top three picks for the award with the first-choice player receiving five points, the second-choice three points and the third-choice just one point. Messi has now won this award on six different occasions.

Since 2008, the duo of Messi and Ronaldo have won this honour on all but one occasion. Last year, Luka Modric of Real Madrid claimed the award owing to his performances in FIFA World Cup.

All three – Messi, Van Dijk and Ronaldo – also featured in the FIFPRO Men’s Team of the Year.

Who voted for who?

FIFA also revealed the details of the voting. Messi selected Liverpool forward Sadio Mane as his first pick, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Frenkie de Jong completed his top-three.

However, Ronaldo didn’t return the favour to Messi as the Argentinean didn’t figure in his top-three. Ronaldo picked his teammate Matthijs de Ligt as his top pick. Frenkie de Jong and Kylian Mbappe completed Ronaldo’s top-three.

As the Netherlands captain, Van Dijk picked Messi, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in his top-three.

Other winners at the FIFA awards

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp claimed the Best FIFA Men’ Coach award for his accomplishments last season. The German won the biggest trophy of his managerial career last season as he guided the Reds to Champions League glory. He defeated competition from fellow Premier League managers Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) and Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham). Liverpool claimed one more individual accolade at the ceremony as goalkeeper Alisson Becker was acknowledged as the best Goalkeeper for his performances during the 2018-19 season.

USA international Megan Rapinoe claimed the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year accolade. The World Cup winner claimed the award ahead of her US teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze. Rapinoe claimed 46 per cent of scoring points and Morgan was close behind with 42 per cent votes.

Former US coach Jill Ellis was named Best FIFA Women’s Coach award while Netherlands captain Sari van Veenendaal was judged to be Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper.

Leeds United and their manager Marcelo Bielsa were given the FIFA Fair Play award for allowing Aston Villa to score an equalizer in a vital Championship game last season.