After being beaten to the 2019 Ballon d'Or award by FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi on Monday night, Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk commented on losing out to the Argentine.
Click through the gallery above to see some of the best pictures from the awards ceremony in Paris.
The 28-year-old defender was one of the favourites to claim the award on Monday night, after enjoying a remarkable 2019 with both Liverpool and the Netherlands.
Van Dijk, however, was beaten to the prestigious prize by 32-year-old Messi, who has now won the accolade a record six times in his career.
Interviewed shortly after the announcement, the Dutchman heaped praise on the Blaugrana captain.
"To be absolutely honest, I never thought that I would be up for a Ballon d'Or until I was actually nominated," Van Dijk said, according to the Daily Mail.
"It says a lot about how my career has been, it's never been easy. My career has been different than, let's say, the winner here, I came late but I never gave up on my dream, so I had to work very hard for every step of the way.
"Unfortunately, there are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are unnatural, I think they are fantastic.
"Look, six times the Ballon d'Or, we need to respect greatness as well. I was close but there was just someone a little bit better.
"I'm very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and with Holland, and hopefully we can do that again this year, but you know it's going to be tough as long as these guys are around."
Van Dijk finished second to Messi, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo in third place and his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in fourth.
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