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Champions League winners Van Dijk, Wijnaldum given warm welcome by Netherlands squad

Wijnaldum, VanDijk

Amsterdam, June 4: Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum received a warm welcome from their Netherlands team-mates after winning the Champions League with Liverpool.

The duo started as Liverpool overcame Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.

And, they were warmly received by their international team-mates on Monday as Netherlands prepare for the Nations League Finals.

Van Dijk and Wijnaldum were applauded by the squad and staff, including coach Ronald Koeman, as they arrived in camp.

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Meanwhile, Koeman said Van Dijk deserves to beat Lionel Messi to Ballon d'Or glory.

Koeman believes the former Celtic and Southampton man should be recognised for his inspirational role when football's top individual awards are handed out.

Van Dijk for Ballon d'Or?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the player prizes over the last decade, but Luka Modric disrupted that duopoly when his efforts for Croatia at last year's World Cup were recognised in December.

Koeman says Van Dijk would be a worthy successor as holder of the Ballon d'Or, even if he does not necessarily rate him as the world's finest player.

"He deserves to win the Ballon d'Or," Koeman said.

"It's usually handed to players who make or create decisive goals, but if there ever is a time to give it to a defender, it is now."

The players even broke into song for Wijnaldum, chanting about the midfielder.

Netherlands face England in the semifinals in Guimaraes on Thursday before either playing a final or third-place play-off three days later.

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Story first published: Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 6:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 4, 2019
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