Thursday 19 September 2019

A good night for the Dutch: four clubs in Europe, two players of the year

Virgil Van Dijk with his awards. Photo by Pascal Della Zuana/Icon Sport via HH

Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk has been voted player of the year by the European football association Uefa.

Van Dijk, who took the Champions League and Supercup titles last season with Liverpool, saw off Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo to win the award, which was made during the draw for the Champions League groups in Monaco.

Van Dijk, also nominated for Fifa’s player of the year award, was named best defender of the season as well.

Young Dutchman Frenkie de Jong, who swapped Ajax for Barcelona this summer, took the award for best midfielder. Messi was named best forward.

Meanwhile, wins by AZ of Alkmaar, Rotterdam’s Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven mean there will be four clubs playing in Europe this season, following on from Ajax’ win on Wednesday.

AZ, Feyenoord and PSV will all take part in the Europa League group stages, having battled through several qualifying rounds.

Champions League contender Ajax will meet Chelsea, Valencia and Lille in group H of Europe’s premier competition. Ajax were semi-finalists last year.

The first matches will be played on September 17 and 18, when Ajax will meet Lille at home. The Amsterdammers will meet Valencia away on October 2 and Chelsea at home on October 23.

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