Ashley Cole insists Lionel Messi deserved to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Virgil van Dijk – despite his personal desire to see a defender win the top prize.

Liverpool ace Van Dijk was tipped to win the individual accolade, becoming the first centre-back to do so since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 having captained Italy to the World Cup.

But Barcelona star Messi scooped his sixth Golden Ball, leaving Van Dijk and Liverpool supporters frustrated to see him overlooked.

The Dutchman did edge Cristiano Ronaldo to take second place in the voting – but ex-Arsenal, Chelsea and England star Cole reckons the two attacking superstars are still the two men who deserved to finish in the top two.

Lionel Messi deserved to scoop a sixth Ballon d’Or, according to Ashley Cole

“It’s tough,” Cole told Omnisport.

“You want different positions maybe being credited with how good they’ve played in that season, but to be honest I don’t think you can look outside…

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Ashley Cole explains why Virgil van Dijk did not deserve to win Ballon d’Or
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