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Van Dijk says teammates deserve accolades for his UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award

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Liverpool and Netherlands’ defender Virgil van Dijk on Thursday attributed his success of winning the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award to the role his teammates played.

Van Dijk was on Thursday crowned the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year during the UEFA Champions League draw in Monaco.

He was the big winner from the UEFA Champions League awards, picking up the Player of the Year accolade, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I need to thank my teammates. Without them, I would not have achieved what I have achieved,” van Dijk said after picking up his award.

“It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey. I’m very proud to get this trophy.

“It’s credit to everyone who has helped me. I wasn’t 18 and went straight to the top. I had to work every step of the way.

“I looked up to Ronaldinho a lot (while) growing up. I enjoyed his play with all his tricks, it was a great feeling to watch him play,” he said.

The UEFA Champions League draw ceremony took place in Monaco, with the elite of European football learning their group-stage opponents for this year’s tournament.

The event was also an opportunity for UEFA to hand out their annual awards, recognising the best performing players in each position throughout the previous year.

As well as the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward, UEFA selected the best Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year and handed the President’s award to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.

Shortlists for every category were selected by a jury comprising the 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the Champions League and Europa League last season.

They were joined by 55 prominent journalists who were also handed votes.

(Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo and Olawale Alabi)

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