29 Apr 2019, 13:51 IST


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Liverpool FC v Watford FC – Premier LeagueLiverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk was named 2019 PFA Player of the Year on Sunday in recognition of his phenomenal contribution to Liverpool’s title challenge this season.The Dutchman beat the likes of beat Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Eden Hazard to the award that is voted for by fellow players in the English top flight.This win marks the first time a defender has won the accolade since Chelsea legend John Terry in the 2004-05 season.Since moving from Southampton last January, van Dijk has established himself as a worthy commander at the heart of the Liverpool defence. He made 45 appearances in all competitions for the club this season, helping Liverpool to keep 23 clean sheets and scoring five goals in the process.Speaking of the achievement, the Netherlands captain said, “It’s unbelievable. To win this award, voted by all the players you play against week in, week out, is fantastic. I think it’s the highest honour you can get. I’m really proud.”Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp also had a message for his star defender, telling the club’s official website, “I’m really proud it’s the second time in a row I can speak about a wonderful player who won the award for Player of the Season: Virgil van Dijk.””Who would have thought that when he started back in Holland? I think not everybody saw immediately what kind of player hides in this giant body.””But now the whole world is aware of that and I’m really happy I can be a little bit around that development. I would love to think it’s because of me! But obviously it’s not, he was already the player he is now when we bought him from Southampton.””It all worked out. From the first moment I was so excited about the opportunity to work together and now you are the man – at least for this season!”

Twitter has since exploded with reactions to the news:Former Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk wins the PFA Player of the Year. Not bad for a player called a dud, over-rated and not worth £10m by the Scottish Media.— Focus on Celtic (@FocusOnCeltic) April 28, 2019Van Dijk becomes just the 2nd defender this century to be named PFA Player of the Year. Fully deserved after a phenomenal season. Class of his own.— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) April 28, 2019Van Dijk fully deserves the PFA PotY. He’s pretty much the difference between Liverpool being a top four chasing sort of club to a 90+ point title challenger.— Un Prophète (@mediocentr0) April 28, 2019In 18 months, Virgil van Dijk has moved from Southampton to Liverpool for a world record fee, played in a CL final, become one of the best defenders in world football, been named captain of the Netherlands, spearheaded a title challenge and won the PFA POTY award. Meteoric rise.— RF9 🇧🇷 (@SambaRole) April 28, 2019

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