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Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has been named as the men’s player of the year with England’s Lucy Bronze winning the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award.

van Dijk and bronze

Full-back Bronze beat Lyon team-mates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the award.

She is the first English player to be honoured, voted for by top coaches in the women’s game and journalists.

While Dutch professional footballer, Van Dijk helped Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final in Madrid in June.

The 28-year-old beat Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo to the prestigious prize.

He is the first defender to win the award, which was first presented in 2010-11. Messi and Ronaldo claimed five of the previous eight awards between them, with Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.

“I’m very proud to get this trophy. It’s credit to everyone who has helped me,” said Van Dijk, who won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award and BBC Sport website’s player of the year for 2018-19.

“I need to thank my teammates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved.
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It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey.”

A revelation for Liverpool since joining from Southampton in January 2018 in a £75m deal, Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk was an integral part of the side that won European football’s top prize last season and pushed eventual Premier League champions Manchester City all the way in the title race.

She was unable to attend Thursday’s awards ceremony in Monaco, which followed the draw for the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, as she was appearing for England against Belgium in a friendly in Leuven.

But in a video message, Bronze said: “I’m ecstatic and super-humbled to have won the award up against two fantastic players who I know really well at Lyon.

“I want to say a huge thanks to the Lionesses, the England team. We had a great summer and I don’t think I would have won this award if it wasn’t for them.

“The same goes for the Lyon team. We had an amazing season, we won the treble. I think any one of those girls could have been up here receiving this award.”

By Kayode Oniwinde

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