Liverpool star defender Virgil van Dijk on Thursday won his maiden UEFA Men's Player of the Year award after beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in Monaco.
While UEFA Women's player of the year award was also won a by a defender from Lyon -- Lucy Bronze.
Van Dijk won the men's award after helping Liverpool win its sixth European title in June. It is the latest individual acknowledgement for the Dutchman, who was voted player of the year by his fellow professionals in England last season.
Van Dijk, who joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2018 for 75 million pounds (then around $100 million), beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the honor at a ceremony in Monaco.
The 28-year-old Van Dijk says he hopes there is now "a little bit more appreciation" for defenders.
Bronze has won back-to-back Women's Champions League titles with Lyon. She also helped England reach the semifinals of the World Cup last mont
Van Dijk was the star performer for the Premier League giants in the Champions League winning-campaign.
Apart from Player of the year accolade, Van Dijk also won the Defender of the Year award while Barcelona's Lionel Messi grabbed the Forward of the Year trophy.