Virgil van Dijk on Sunday night became only the fourth defender in more than 40 years to be crowned the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year.
The Liverpool centre-back, bedrock of the club’s greatest title challenge during the Premier League era, was voted for by his peers ahead of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who instead won the young player of the year award.
Arsenal Women forward Vivianne Miedema received the women’s award after scoring 22 times to lead her side to their first league title since 2012. They were crowned champions on Sunday after a 4-0 win away to Brighton.
Van Dijk, who who was joined by his wife Rike Nooitgedagton on the red carpet at London’s Grosvenor House, was joined at the ceremony by his Liverpool team-mates Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold – all of whom featured in the PFA’s team of the year.
Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated this year’s awards, but Van Dijk won the most prestigious prize ahead of a shortlist that included Mane, Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Eden Hazard.