Puyol Lauds Messi and Van Dijk

Former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol has praised Liverpool center-half Virgil Van Dijk and former team-mate Lionel Messi.

Puyol Lauds Messi and Van Dijk

Van Dijk won the UEFA Player of the year award after helping Liverpool clinch their sixth Champions League trophy.

Messi on the other hand, was voted as the FIFA Men’s Best Player after another outstanding season with Barcelona.

Puyol, who was also a center-half himself during his illustrious career with Barcelona and Spain has labelled Van Dijk as “one of the best and a complete defender”.

Speaking to Independent, the Spaniard said: “Van Dijk is one of the best in the world,”

“He is the complete defender, always calm, a great player. The spotlight usually goes to the strikers, so it is nice to see a special defender get deserved recognition.”

Puyol played with Messi at the Camp Nou during his days with the Blaugrana and he believes the six- time European golden boot award winner is the “best of all time”.

Van Dijk will likely be up against Messi and Ronaldo for the Ballon D’or and Puyol thinks it will be difficult for the Dutchman to usurp the two ‘extra-terrestrials’ who have won the award five times each but the 41-year-old was extremely reticent when he was asked  to pick his winner for the golden ball.

Puyol added: “It’s true that in recent years Messi for me is the best, and it’s difficult to compare to him because to me he’s the best player in history.

“We’ve also had Cristiano who’s a great player. And the two have always been there, and few players have had the opportunity to win an individual trophy.

“Having these two players in this era, he’s [Van Dijk] doing an excellent job and I’m very happy for him.”