Van Dijk ignoring Ballon d’Or talk to focus on Messi & Barcelona

The Liverpool defender has landed the PFA Player of the Year award, but insists he is giving no thought to being named the best on the planet

Virgil van Dijk insists Ballon d’Or success is not “on my mind at all”, with Liverpool’s newly crowned PFA Player of the Year focused solely on Barcelona and a Champions League clash with Lionel Messi.

Having been recognised as the finest performer in the Premier League for 2018-19 by his peers, it has been suggested that the Dutch defender could secure a standing as the finest player on the planet.

Were he to help Liverpool to domestic or European glory, then his claims to a Golden Ball would be enhanced considerably.

Van Dijk is not, however, about to let himself get caught up in speculative hype, with there still plenty for him to achieve on the field before attention turns to more individual honours.

Quizzed on whether the Ballon d’Or forms part of his future plans, the 27-year-old said: “Nah, that's not something that's on my mind at all.”

He added, with five-time winner Messi among the next opponents in his sights as Liverpool prepare to take in a trip to Camp Nou on Wednesday: “There are currently players walking around in this football world that are out of this world basically and they've been doing it for many years.

“I'm very happy how I perform at the moment, how consistent I'm performing, that I'm fit as well. I think I just need to not look too far ahead.

“Right now we're in a tight title race, in the Champions League semi-finals against a fantastic team, where probably the best players are playing so we just take it game by game.

“For us now it's time to focus on Barcelona midweek and then we have a big game at Newcastle away as well so I won't look too far ahead and the only goals I will set are personal goals with Liverpool.”

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2018-19

Success-starved Liverpool are determined to get their hands on major silverware this season.

A first top-flight title in 29 years remains up for grabs, alongside a sixth European Cup success.

Van Dijk is more concerned with collecting collective prizes than improving his personal CV.

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He added: “All the players in the league, I think, want to play for trophies, want to get trophies.

“I can only speak for myself and my team - we definitely want to get a trophy and we're working hard every day for it and hopefully in the future that will happen.

“That's what we're definitely looking for.”