sport news Virgil van Dijk heaps praise on Lionel Messi after missing out on the Ballon ...

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'We need to respect greatness': Virgil van Dijk heaps praise on 'unnatural' Lionel Messi as Liverpool star remains dignified in defeat after missing out on the Ballon d'Or Virgil van Dijk came second behind Lionel Messi at the 2019 Ballon d'Or awards  The Dutchman had been tipped to beat the Barcelona superstar to the honour  Van Dijk was gracious in defeat and heaped praise upon Messi's greatness  Messi has now won the award six times, more than any other player in history 

By Danny Gallagher For Mailonline

Published: 21:36 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 21:41 GMT, 2 December 2019

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Virgil van Dijk was full of praise for the 'unnatural' Lionel Messi after narrowly losing out on the biggest individual prize in world football.

The Liverpool and Holland defender placed second in the Ballon d'Or stakes, as Messi picked up the prestigious honour for a record sixth time.

Nobody in football history has won the accolade more than Messi, and Van Dijk admitted the 'greatness' of the Barcelona superstar must be respected.

Virgil van Dijk attended the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris with his wife Rike Nooitgedagt

Virgil van Dijk attended the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris with his wife Rike Nooitgedagt

Lionel Messi scooped the main honour, winning the Ballon d'Or for a historic sixth time

Lionel Messi scooped the main honour, winning the Ballon d'Or for a historic sixth time

Speaking in front of a star-studded crowd inside the iconic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, Van Dijk admitted he never believed he would be in the running for such a huge solo prize.

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