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Paul Merson says Virgil van Dijk should win the Ballon d’Or

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson has said that he believes Liverpool colossus Virgil van Dijk should win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

The Dutchman has had a sensational year for the Reds and has won multiple individual honours after helping guide his team to their sixth Champions League triumph in May.

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The 28-year-old started every Premier League game last season as he helped keep 21 clean sheets and his team only conceded 22 goals.

Merson spoke on Sky Sports’ The Debate (1:21) panel show and expressed how good van Dijk has been over the past year.

He said: “I think he should win it.

“I think he’s taken Liverpool to another level, in my opinion.

“Not single-handedly because other players have been around but if he wasn’t at the club, then I don’t think they [Liverpool] would be where they were.”

Like no other centre back

Merson is spot on when he refers to taking Liverpool to different levels. With his composure and the ability to make defending look so simple, he has raised the defensive bar to new gargantuan heights.

Van Dijk produced an incredible record which ran last season and ended during the Arsenal game during the current campaign. He set a 50-game benchmark where no player dribbled past him during that time, which was brought to an end by the Gunners’ forward Nicolas Pepe.

The Dutchman is not like other defenders in the modern football era as he continues to shine in the scrutiny of being the best defender in the world.

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His manager certainly thinks so, after the Dutchman walked away with the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year gong, Klopp hailed him as the very best defender around.

Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also heaped praise on him and said that it would be unfair to compare other centre backs to the devoted Dutchman.

Liverpool find themselves with one of their best squads in the Premier League era. Echoing the words of Merson, it would be a worrying prospect to discover how the Reds played without Van Dijk.

Article title: Paul Merson says Virgil van Dijk should win the Ballon d’Or

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