Barcelona star Lionel Messi has labelled Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk as “one of the best in the world”.

Van Dijk, who signed for Liverpool from Southampton for a transfer fee of £75 million in January 2018, has certainly proved his worth during his time at the club.

Since Van Dijk’s inclusion in Jurgen Klopp’s team, the Reds have not looked back.

The club have secured the 2019 continental treble, and the 2019-20 Premier League title looked a sure thing until the coronavirus suspended play.

Liverpool will more than likely get the opportunity to claim the title, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Liverpool’s back four, which is led by Van Dijk, have only conceded 21 goals from 29 Premier League games this season.

Messi, who played against Van Dijk in the Champions League semi-final stage last season, has labelled the centre-back as “one of the best in the world”.

As quoted by the Daily Star, Messi said: “He is a very tough opponent, one of the best in the world.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 29: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool walks out prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool FC at London Stadium on January 29, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Van Dijk is certainly gaining plenty of praise around the world. There is no denying that he deserves it. However, it means more when it comes from a player such as Messi.

I have not seen a centre-back at Liverpool like Van Dijk. The Dutchman does not make mistakes. In my opinion, he is the greatest defender of the Premier League era.

Liverpool have never possessed a defender in the Premier League era that has had the ability to completely transform a team like Van Dijk has.

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Freelance sports journalist and Red from Melbourne.

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