'Proud' Van Dijk named PFA Player of the Year

Friday, 03 May, 2019

Van Dijk, who just won the PFA Player of the Year award, isn't daunted about facing the Catalan giants on their home soil for the second time in his career.

What's perhaps more important to Van Dijk's Player of the Year award win is the effect he has on Liverpool's results.

The Dutchman has proved to be worthy of every penny of the world-record fee for a defender the Merseyside club paid for him in January 2018 to get him from Southampton.

The newly-crowned Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year was a member of the Celtic team humiliated 6-1 in December 2013 - they were 6-0 down after 72 minutes - with Lionel Messi not even playing.

"I think he is the best player in the world", van Dijk said via The Guardian.

"But I like how my team are dealing with the situation; I'm really proud of the boys, how they deal with it".

He became the first Premier League defender in six years to claim a Player of the Month award, winning it in November and once again in February.

"It's special, definitely", said 27-year-old van Dijk.

I remember when we met first and all that stuff and from the first moment I was very excited to work together with you, and now you are the man, at least for this season. He inherits the trophy from the 2018 victor and his club teammate, Mohamed Salah.

Scoring 23 goals in 53 games across all competitions, it was the captain's best goalscoring season to date and his long-range strike in injury time of the FA Cup final against West Ham United will go down as one of the great goals of the competition's history.

Van Dijk, who also has a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona to look forward to this week, added: "If you see the standard of strikers or playmakers we have in the league, it's unbelievable".

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling won the PFA Young Player of the Year.

"If you see the shortlist, what kind of quality there is, it's very special, obviously, that players in the league voted for me". I would love to think it's because of me!

Darby, however, is determined Houghton takes her place in manager Phil Neville's squad.

"He said: "[Klopp] gives confidence.