Jaap Stam
Jaap Stam
@MUFCunite - Twitter

Handing the 2019 Ballon d'Or to Barcelona star Lionel Messi was the 'right decision', said former Dutch footballer Jaap Stam who believes the Argentine deserved it more than Liverpool defender and compatriot Virgil van Dijk.

Speaking to Goal.com, the former Manchester United defender said: "Normally a defender is underestimated and people don't think a lot about them. I think nowadays it is becoming better and people appreciate the job of defending a lot more."

"But goalscorers earn more money and they get more attention. That's how it's always been and that's how it's going to be in the future. And looking at the world now, I think Messi is still the best player. If you look at the Ballon d'Or and winning the trophy, I think the right decision was to give it to Messi." he added.

After winning his 6th Ballon d'Or award, Messi had gone past the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo to gain an edge for the title of G.O.A.T (Greatest of all time) in football.

Meanwhile, the count for the most coveted award in football remains at five for the Juventus striker.

The 47-year-old Stam said although he would have liked to give the award to his compatriot Van Dijk, Messi deserved the title.

"I would have liked to give it to Virgil because I think he's done great. It's not that I don't want him to win it, but I think Messi and what he is doing year in, year out, scoring goals and creating goals with the pressure he's under, I think he deserves it," he said.

Stam played for Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and other European clubs before retiring in 2007.

Known for his on-field aggressiveness, Stam possessed a rare combination of speed, strength and ball-playing ability.

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Free Press Journal