Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk was named as UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, beating out the big names in football after leading Liverpool for UEFA Champions League crown last season.
“It’s been a long road but that’s part of my journey, it’s part of who I am. I needed it like this, I’m not a player who was 18 years old and had that rise straight away. I had to work hard for every step of the way – that’s part of me and I’m very happy about that,” Van Dijk quoted in a Reuters article after receiving the award last August 29th during the 2019-2020 Champions League draw at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
“I’m very proud to get this trophy and it’s all credit to everyone that’s helped me along the way,” he added as he defeated FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo in receiving 305 points from journalist and coaches of participating clubs during the last season’s Champions and Europa Leagues to bag the award.
Messi and Ronaldo, former winners of the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in the previous years came second and third respectively with 207 and 74 points each.
Van Dijk was also named as Best Defender, Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong hailed as Best Midfielder while Messi bagged the Best Forward and Goal of the Year recognitions
Liverpool’s Alisson named as Best Goalkeeper.
Lyon’s Lucy Bronze meanwhile was named as UEFA Women’s Player of The Year awardee beating her teammates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry.
UEFA Champions League group assignments finally reveal
The group assignments for the 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League finally revealed after a draw was held last August 29th at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain was assigned in Group A together with experience Spanish club Real Madrid, Turkish League champion Galatasaray and Belgian club Club Brugge.
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich together with last season’s runner-up Tottenham, Serbian Super Liga kings RedStar Belgrade and Greek club Olympiacos composed Group B.
Reigning Premier League champion Manchester City, Ukranian Premier League kings Shakhtar Donetsk, Croatian First Football League champs Dinamo Zagreb and Italian club Atalanta will compose Group C.
Group D will have Serie A champions Juventus, Spain’s Atletico Madrid, Germany’s Bayern Leverkusen, and Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow.
Defending champion Liverpool was drawn to Group E together with Austrian Bundesliga kings Red Bull Salzburg, Belgian First Division A champs Genk and Italian club Napoli.
La Liga kings FC Barcelona assigned in Group F together with Czech First League champions Slavia Prague, Italy’s Inter Milan and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund
Russian Super League champion Zenit St.Petersburg, Portuguese club Benfica, French club Lyon and German club RB Leipzig will make Group G.
Europa League champion Chelsea will compete in the Champions League this season as a reward in winning the second-tier UEFA tournament last season in finding themselves in Group H together with Dutch Eredivisie champions Ajax, Spanish club Valencia and French club Lille.
The first window of the UEFA champions league group qualifiers will take place from September 17th to 18th. After six windows, the top two teams of each group will advance to the Round of 16 while the third placer will be transferred to Europa League to continue their campaign.
After a draw was staged to determine the opponent of each club in the Round of 16, they will compete in a two-legged home-and-away matches, which will be the format until the semifinals and the two remaining clubs will battle in a one-game finals set to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on May 2020.