Van Dijk and Miedema named PFA Players of the year

Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool defender Van Dijk claimed the top prize at Sunday's event in London, edging out team-mate Sadio Mane, Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Manchester City trio Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling - who won the Young Player of the Year award.

Both awards were decided by the votes of current players from a shortlist drawn up by former professional footballers and analysts. Though Dijk has been proven to be worthy as he brought assertiveness and confidence to the club.

The Dutchman has proved to be worthy of every penny of the world-record fee for a defender the Merseyside club paid for him in January 2018 to get him from Southampton.

Juergen Klopp's men are also in the Champions League semi-finals, where they play Barcelona in the first leg at the Nou Camp tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

He could still end the season with a Premier League winner's medal as Liverpool now trail Manchester City by a single point with two matches remaining.

"I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before", Van Dijk said about Messi. "I love playing for Liverpool, I am proud to wear the shirt".

England global Sterling has been praised both for his on-field performances and a willingness to speak out about football's continuing problems with racism.

"The five-time Ballon d'Or victor has scored 46 goals this season, 10 of those coming in the Champions League, but Van Dijk does not fear Messi".

He also became the second Man City player to win the award in a successive year, after Leroy Sane won it last season.

They were crowned champions with a 4-0 win away to Brighton on Sunday.

Miedema said: "I'm obviously really proud to represent my team here". The 31-year-old defender is set to skipper the Lionesses at this year's World Cup in France.

Special Achievement award victor Houghton, 31, is set to lead the Lionnesses at this summer's World Cup in France, having won 104 caps for her country to date.

Houghton has been one of the leading lights in the English women's game and has drawn praise from England Women coach Phil Neville for her handling of difficulties in her personal life.

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