Georginio Wijnaldum has backed his Liverpool and Netherlands teammate Virgil van Dijk for the honour of being named the best player in the world this season at this year’s Ballon D’Or.
Van Dijk was named the PFA player of the season after his incredible season at the back for Liverpool and the big defender has played a huge part in the Netherlands run to the Uefa Nations League final.
The Dutch defensive juggernaut faces the a big test of his claims in Porto on Sunday when the Netherlands go against five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
“He already had a good season, he is trying to stop everyone, that’s the way he’s playing,” said Wijnaldum on Saturday.
“For us he’s the best defender in the world. If you look at his season, he definitely deserves the Ballon d’Or but it’s not up to us to decide.”
Dutch coach Ronald Koeman insisted the job of keeping Ronaldo quiet would not be left to just his two towering centre-backs, Van Dijk and Mathijs De Ligt.
Ronaldo laced in a hat-trick in an otherwise flat performance from Portugal, signalling his intent to drag the team to yet another honour.
“We played a friendly in Switzerland not a long time ago and De Ligt was stopping Ronaldo as well. It’s not only Van Dijk who can stop Ronaldo,” said Koeman.
“But Ronaldo is good enough to create even against really good defenders and that’s the nicest part of football. You can’t do everything because his quality is such a high level that it is difficult.”
Koeman insisted his side were coming into the match feeling relaxed having exceeded expectations in the Nations League.
“It is just confirmation that we are moving in the right direction,” added Koeman.
“If we go back when we saw the draw of this tournament, the group of France and Germany, nobody expected Holland to be the winner of the group. Now we are in the final.
“It is a pleasure to play in the final and it is not pressure.”