Virgil van Dijk is again a candidate to be named World Footballer of the Year. Vivianne Miedema and Sarina Wiegman are also in the race for the best player and best coach, respectively
Translated by Adriana Dancu
In contrast to the Ballon d’Or (organized by the football magazine France Football), the FIFA awards will be awarded this year, despite the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting football across Europe.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is currently recovering from a serious knee injury. He finished second in last year’s FIFA election (which was held for the first time in 2016), behind Argentina’s Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Virgil Van Dijk began his professional football career in Groningen, and made his debut for FC Groningen on 1 May 2011, despite opposition from the club’s youth staff arguing that Van Dijk was “over worked”. On 29 May of the same year, Van Dijk played for the first time for Groningen and scored his first professional goals.
In addition to the captain of the Dutch national mens team, ten more players have been nominated for the 2020 title, based on their performance in the period 20 July 2019 to 7 October 2020. Two-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo (2016 and 2017), Thiago Alcántara, Kevin De Bruyne; Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mané, Kylian Mbappé; Sergio Ramos, Mohamed Salah, Neymar; and Messi join Van Dijk in the nominations.
Two more Dutch contenders
Van Dijk is not the only Dutch person in the race for the honorary title. Among the women nominees, Vivianne Miedema, originally from Hoogeveen in the province of Drenthe has a large chance of attaining the title. Miedema plays for the Netherlands national team and Arsenal WFC and, like Van Dijk, is competing against ten others players. Notably, five play for the French juggernaut Olympique Lyonnais, which won the Champions League for the fifth time in a row last summer.
Dutch national coach Wiegman is competing for the best coach award for a women’s team. Wiegman won the award in 2017, the year in which she became European champion with the Dutch team, and was also nominated in 2018 and 2019.
Last year, she was trumped by American national coach Jill Ellis, who had guided Team USA to the world title. The US defeated the Dutch in the finals of that tournament.
Via the website of the FIFA World Football Association, you can vote for the nominees until December 9, after which the list of candidates-also thanks to the input of journalists, national coaches and leaders of national teams-will be reduced to three names per category.
The winners will be announced in Zurich on 17 December.
As reported by the NOS.