Virgil van Dijk in contention for Ballon d’Or, says Ryan Babel

Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk is a contender to win the Ballon d’Or, says Ryan Babel.

Van Dijk captained Netherlands to the final of the Nations League on Sunday, where they eventually fell short in a 1-0 defeat to hosts Portugal.

The Dutchman also led Liverpool to the Champions League title last season and only narrowly missed out on a Premier League title win.

Fulham winger Babel believes the 27-year-old could be the first defender since Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to win the Ballon d’Or.

“The last time I remember a defender winning the Ballon d’Or, it was Cannavaro in 2006. So it’s not impossible,” he told Sky Sports News.

“I think it is fair that he would at least be on the shortlist.

“We will see in the end if he wins it or not. I would be very happy for him (if he does).”