Updated: Sep 8, 2020
No defender has won the Ballon d'Or award since former Real and Juventus defender Cannavaro.
Fabio Cannavaro believes Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk should have won last year's Ballon d'Or award. Barcelona star Lionel Messi was given the accolade because he had seven points more than the Reds centre-half in the voting system. Former Italy international Cannavaro was the last defender to have won the award back in 2006 following Italy's triumph at the World Cup, and, the ex-Juve star insists Van Dijk - who joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 did enough to become the worlds best player, adding that defenders are at a disadvantage when compared to forwards in football. "I messaged Van Dijk to congratulate him on last season but, as a defender, it is difficult to win," Cannavaro, who is in charge of Guangzhou Evergrande, told Sky Sports. "You don't just need to have a great performance and to win trophies. "You need to be lucky not to have a striker like Ronaldo and Messi in front of you. This is the key. If you have Messi or Ronaldo you start the game 1-0 up." The Italian continued: "Liverpool had an amazing season and they deserve to win and celebrate this league [the 2019-20 Premier League title]. "But we are in this [coronavirus] situation and it's a shame for them. "I respect Salah a lot. He's changed a lot at Liverpool. For the last three years, he's been like a machine. "He's the player every coach would like to train because he can defend and attack and he leaves everything on the field, he never gives up."
Cannavaro also revealed his desire to manage a Premier League club in the future. "I watch every game in the Premier League and I like the ambiance and culture of football in England," he said. "I am in China to try to improve my system and idea within football. I am at one of the best Asian clubs and of course, in the future, I'd like to try one experience in Europe. "I like the Klopp mentality but at the same time, I like the Pep culture about football because always we need intensity with and without the ball. "But you need to control the game and try to win. I have my system and I hope one day you will see."