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Featured Image Credit: PA/France Football
Ballon d'Or organisers France Football named Virgil van Dijk in its Team of the Decade after his sensational impact at Liverpool.
The 28-year-old Liverpool centre-back has become a quintessential figure in Jurgen Klopp's squad since his £75m acquisition from Southampton.
France Football revealed that its selection for the Team of the Decade was "based on a simple, precise and above all very revealing criterion: the presence of players in the last ten top 10 of the France Football Ballon d'Or."
However, the French magazine explained that defenders that missed out on a place could have come down to the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or standings.
The publication explained: "If only Messi and Ronaldo take place there nine times, the defenders are for example much fewer, but still well represented because of XXL performances, in club as in selection. After accounting time, FF presents the best eleven of the decade."
Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas takes his place between the sticks, with Van Dijk partnered alongside Los Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos.
Ex-Bayern Munich star Philipp Lahm is the first-choice right-back and Madrid star Marcelo is out on the left.
France Football's Team of the Decade, which is lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, has a midfield trio consisting of Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric and Barcelona legends Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Messi, who won his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or this month, takes up his place out on the right.
And the 32-year-old Argentine superstar's ex-Barca teammate Neymar takes his place out on the left wing.
Leading the frontline is none other than Juventus superstar Ronaldo, who has won an incredible five Ballon d'Ors across his illustrious playing career.
But fans are furious that Van Dijk, who finished behind Messi for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, has made the Team of the Decade over the likes of Gerard Pique and Giorgio Chiellini.
Dude, VVD DOESN'T DESERVE THIS
- Messi'sLeftFoot (@HJaykumar) December 29, 2019
van dijk ahahahahahahaha
- P (@jewellershandss) December 29, 2019
Van Dijk over Pique Laughable to say the least! One season wonder over a player who's been top 3 for the past decade!!!!
Also Dani Alves is best RB ever, not only in the past decade...
- MK:flag_lb: (@BarcaStat) December 29, 2019
While a player like Piqué was winning La Ligas, CLs, World and Euro Cups, Club World Cups and CDR, Van Dijk was still cleaning toilets with a toothbrush at Groningen. You're telling me that Van Dijk winning all of ONE notable title last year makes him a player of the decade????
- rob (@Robbzor) December 29, 2019