Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has been left bemused at how Virgil van Dijk was named UEFA’s Player of the Year considering his opposition.

The Dutch defender beat both Lionel Messi and Cristiano to become the first defender to ever win the award.

Yet the former United defender cannot comprehend how Messi’s 50 goal tally can be overlooked, regardless of how regularly he produces such numbers.

He’s also pointed to Ronaldo’s contribution at a new club as well as his efforts with Portugal where he helped deliver the UEFA Nations League.

“Listen there is no doubt in my mind that Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world today,” he said on BT Sport.

“But when a man scores 50 goals in a season as Messi did.

“Or Cristiano, who has won three trophies this season, with the effect he’s had on a new league and at the national level.

“You can’t look beyond that and I don’t care that people will say it’s boring that them two are still winning it.

“But they are putting up numbers that we’ve never seen before for 15 years you can’t look beyond that.

“I am a center-half and I’m delighted he has won it and he is a worthy winner.

“But when you’ve got a man scoring 50 you can’t do that. I just won’t have it.”