Virgil van Dijk has been told exactly where he must improve if he is to win the Ballon d’Or later this year.
The Liverpool defender is among the frontrunners for this year’s award having impressed for the Reds as they won the Champions League and finished as Premier League runners-up.
The 27-year-old also captained the Netherlands to the final of the Nations League in Portugal this summer, which the Oranje lost 1-0 against the hosts.
The former Southampton man is considered by many to be a leading contender to break the stranglehold Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had on the Ballon d’Or this decade, with the pair winning every award since Kaka triumphed in 2007.
And van Dijk has been told by fellow countryman Ruud Gullit that he must improve his displays for the Netherlands if he is to win the top award.
AS report that speaking at an event in Spain, Gullit advised the centre-back to take his club form into the international arena.
“I think he did really, really well, especially with Liverpool. I think that he was the missing link for them. For the national team I still think he needs to be better than that,” said the former Chelsea manager.
“Not him only, but also [Matthijs] De Ligt because out of the last 14 games, 10 games we’ve been 1-0 down. If you have such a good defence you don’t need to concede these goals all the time.”
Van Dijk has already enjoyed a highly successful 2019, being named PFA Player of the Year for his performances with Liverpool in addition to the European title he won with the Reds.
If the 27-year-old were to win the Ballon d’Or, he would be the first defender to take home the award since Fabio Cannavaro did so in 2006 after leading Italy to a fourth World Cup.