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Messi, CR7, or Van Dijk: Who is The Best?

Stats: Messi, Cristiano, or Van Dijk – Who deserves The Best FIFA Men's Player Award?

September 23, 2019 By Ali M.
The winner for this award will be announced later today. Here, we take a look at the accomplishments of the three finalists.

Today, on Monday, September 23, the winner of FIFA's The Best Men's Player Award will be announced. The three finalists for this prize were revealed in an event at San Siro back on September 02 but fans have known for long who will battle it out for this accolade.

They are Virgil Van Dijk, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. The bookies favor Liverpool's superstar defender to be named the recipient, having won UEFA's Men Player of the Year prize last month.  Nonetheless, Leo and Ronaldo have their fair share of advocates arguing their claim.

Barcelona's icon striker is tipped to be the likeliest to pip Van Dijk to the award. It's hard not to see why with one look at his stats. No player in Europe scored more goals than La Pulga. He won the Golden Boot in both La Liga and the Champions League, despite coming up short in the latter tournament.

With 36 goals in 34 Spanish league appearances, 12 goals in 10 European games, and 51 strikes in 50 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions; the five-time Ballon d'Or winner averaged just above a goal per game.

On top of that, he racked up 22 assists, meaning he contributed to 73 goals for the Catalan giants this term. In the summer, he scored only one goal for Argentina in the Copa America but captained them to a bronze medal nonetheless as poor officiating helped in their semi-final defeat to Brazil.

If you think Cristiano was slacking behind last season, think again. While he managed only 21 goals in Serie A and six in the Champions League, a tally of 28 goals in his debut season for a pragmatic Juventus side is respectable.

His strongest argument comes in his trophy count. He played a crucial role in their Scudetto win and won the Old Lady the Supercoppa Italiana by scoring the winning goal. Then came the summer and he joined his national team, captaining them to another European title – the UEFA Nations League.

Who can forget his hat-trick against Switzerland to book them a final against the Netherlands? Remember his three-goal haul against Atletico to save his club from an early Champions League exit? Everyone does and that's why he has supporters in The Best FIFA Men's Player Award race.

Cristiano has won this prize twice before. Will he add a third? 

Why is Van Dijk the favorite then, one might ask? The reasons are obvious. He was the PFA Player of the Season last term in the Premier League and with the Dutchman at the heart of Liverpool's defense, the Reds lost only one game all season and that was away to Man City.

One statistic that best describes the former Southampton defender's reliability is the fact that for 50 games, no player in the English top-flight could dribble past him. That run would come to an end in the 3-1 win over Arsenal, with Pepe skipping past the second-most expensive defender, but that matters not.

In his 20 months since joining Liverpool, Van Dijk has made two Champions League finals, winning the latter, came within two points of winning the Premier League, and has been named the best player by the PFA and UEFA, and has risen to become the best defender.

Choosing the best of the three is a difficult task. That decision is up to the captain and coach of every national team, as well as an accredited journalist from each of FIFA's 211 member federations. It will be interesting to find out who comes out on top.

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