Virgil van Dijk “totally deserves” to claim the Ballon d’Or, says Liverpool team-mate Adrian, with the Dutch defender considered to be “spectacular” and on a par with other iconic figures such as Sergio Ramos.
It has been suggested that the Netherlands international could see a remarkable rise to prominence recognised with a Golden Ball in 2019.
Van Dijk has made as stunning impact at Anfield following a record-setting £75 million ($91m) move in January 2018, with Liverpool now Premier League title challengers and Champions League winners.
Plaudits have rained down on the 28-year-old over the course of the last 18 months, with new team-mate Adrian the latest to suggest that the commanding centre-half is now one of the very best in the business and potentially the most consistent performer on the planet.
The Spanish goalkeeper told AS when asked to compare Van Dijk with his fellow countryman, Real Madrid captain Ramos: “It is very difficult. For me they are the two best centre-backs in the world and would make an unstoppable partnership on any team.
“I think that having them in front of them, in defence, any goalkeeper in the world could be very calm.
“I had the opportunity to train with Sergio in the national team. He is number one inside and outside the locker room.
“And what can I say about Virgil that is not already known. He is at a spectacular level. He is a top centre-back.
“There is talk of him being a candidate to win the Golden Ball. For me, he totally deserves it. It is not easy being a defender in the Premier League and he showing that he has a spectacular level.”
Adrian teamed up with Van Dijk when making a move to Merseyside as a free agent over the summer.
He was acquired to cover the departure of Simon Mignolet and to play back-up to Alisson.
Liverpool’s No.1 has, however, suffered an untimely injury and Adrian has been thrust into Premier League and UEFA Super Cup action.
He is delighted to see his decision to join the Reds rewarded, with the 32-year-old saying on how a move came about: “The thing with Liverpool goes way back. The scouts had already contacted my representatives and checked the option to sign me, but it could not be done.
“I had a contract with West Ham and it was in its last year, but things changed.
“I practically didn’t play in the league and negotiations to renew did not end well. But, finally, my decision to leave was the right one and it allowed me to change clubs.
“I had several offers from Spain, some of them were advanced and also in other leagues.
“But when I got the offer from Liverpool, there was hardly anything to think about. They told us that they would sell Mignolet and I was the first option. If I said yes, they would not continue searching in the market.
“I just had to introduce myself in Liverpool. It was all done very quickly. In just two weeks everything happened.”