Manchester City and Portugal star Bernardo Silva will win the Ballon d'Or when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo begin to show signs of decline or retire, according to former Selecao star Paulo Futre.

Silva featured in 51 matches for City in their treble-winning campaign of 2018-19 and was voted City's Player of the Season by supporters.

And after also helping Portugal to Nations League glory earlier this month, the 24-year-old has been tipped by Futre to become the next leading star in world football after Messi and Ronaldo – aged 32 and 34, respectively.

Futre, who earned 41 caps for Portugal and represented the likes of Porto, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at club level, told Omnisport: "I think Bernardo will be the next star, or he will be when Ronaldo and Messi start to decline.

"I think Bernardo will be one of those who will be ready to win the Ballon d'Or, because he is a player with a lot of responsibility in a great team like Manchester City.

"He will continue to grow and in two or three years, when Messi and Cristiano retire, I think he can be one of the big favourites to win the Ballon d'Or."

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric ended the decade-long reign of Messi and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time last December.

Virgil van Dijk must "be better" for Netherlands if he is to win the Ballon d'Or, according to Ruud Gullit.

Gullit called for the Liverpool defender to help cut out the errors that have dogged Ronald Koeman's team.

After winning the Champions League with Liverpool, Van Dijk helped his country reach the Nations League final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Portugal, and Koeman received widespread plaudits for turning the Oranje's fortunes around following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

But Gullit, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1987 ahead of the Netherlands' triumph at the 1988 European Championship, called for Van Dijk to inspire improvement in the Dutch defence.

Speaking about Van Dijk at the Costa Smeralda Invitational golf event, Gullit said: "I think he did really, really well, especially with Liverpool. I think that he was the missing link for them.

"For the national team I still think he needs to be better than that.

"Not him only, but also [Matthijs] De Ligt because out of the last 14 games, 10 games we've been 1-0 down. If you have such a good defence you don't need to concede these goals all the time."

Van Dijk won the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Players' Player of the Year award for his outstanding performances for Liverpool throughout 2018-19, and he is widely considered to be a contender for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Gullit underlined the difficulty defensive players have in winning world football's most coveted individual prize, pointing out that his former AC Milan team-mate and Italy great Franco Baresi did not collect the award during his career.

The last defender to win it was former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, and Gullit feels the whole Netherlands team would need to step up to help Van Dijk fulfil his potential.

"It has to do with the whole team of course," said Gullit. "It is something that he has to fix. Not he himself but the whole defence, with the whole team, in order to be that player.

"Of course, defenders have not been picked a lot. Baresi should have been picked but never was. So therefore it would be a huge boost for him if he gets picked."

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed 2018-19 as an "unforgettable season" after he set records and lifted trophies with both Juventus and Portugal.

Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay at LaLiga giants Real Madrid in July 2018, moving to Italian champions Juve for €120million.

The 34-year-old more than repaid his transfer fee, scoring 21 Serie A goals as Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus cruised to an eighth successive Scudetto.

Ronaldo also became the first player to reach 100 wins and 125 goals in the Champions League, though Juve were eliminated by Ajax in the quarter-finals – a defeat which ultimately may have been the reason for Allegri's departure at the end of the campaign.

But Ronaldo was not done there, and after his success with his new club, led Portugal to a Nations League Finals triumph on home soil, scoring a stunning hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland.

And, taking to his official Instagram channel, Ronaldo shared his joy at achieving so much over the course of the season.

"What an unforgettable season! New experiences, gigantic club, exciting city, broken records and three more titles," Ronaldo posted.

"I have to thank all of Juventus fans for the wonderful way I was welcomed in Italy! You're a very important part of our victories! 

"Thanks to all my fans around the world and particularly to the Portuguese people that helped us reach another historical win for Portugal! You'll always have a special place in my heart!

"Personally, I'll never forget the great moments and new record-breaking achievements I've had so far in 2019."

Ronaldo then went onto list some of his accolades from the season, including becoming the first player to win 10 UEFA titles, and being the first to score in all national team finals.

Donny van de Beek is in no hurry to add himself to an anticipated close-season exodus from Ajax.

Erik ten Hag's side thrilled European football with a surprise run to the Champions League semi-finals, while the core of that team was a key part of Netherlands qualifying for the Nations League Finals.

That bid for glory ended with runners-up medals after a 1-0 defeat to hosts Portugal in Porto on Sunday, with attention now turning towards what could be some huge moves away from Amsterdam for certain stars.

Frenkie de Jong has already secured a €75million switch to Barcelona – a figure likely to be dwarfed once a number of the continent's elite clubs are through with a bidding war for Matthijs de Ligt.

Van de Beek saw his own star rise after goals in Ajax's away legs at Juventus and Tottenham during their Champions League charge, his knack of arriving late into the box from midfield to score at crucial times very much seen as a key quality.

Spurs, Inter, Barca and Manchester United are among the clubs to have been listed as admirers but, speaking after his country's loss at Estadio do Dragao, the 22-year-old did not seem keen on forcing a move.

"My situation is I have a contract with Ajax and I am really happy," he said.

"You never know what is going to happen in the future, but I can say nothing about that."

On De Ligt, who was nutmegged by Goncalo Guedes before the Portugal winger exchanged passes with Bernardo Silva and fired in a 60th-minute winner, Van de Beek added: "A lot of clubs want to buy him, I think, because he is a good player and now he has to choose for himself. Where he feels good, he has to go there.

"I've known him a long time and he has a big personality. He is a really good guy, a really good player. He is a good professional who always trains extra."

Whether he stays or goes, Van de Beek knows an emerging side such as Ajax being pulled apart by more powerful clubs is simply a reality of the modern game.

However, he hopes that core can still write a celebrated chapter at international level, with a considerable resurgence already underway after Netherlands missed out on Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

"You see that a lot – players go to another country, another competition," he said. "That's normal in Holland, in the Dutch league, you see that a lot of times.

"For the club, Ajax, it was a nice season, but also for the Dutch squad. Two years ago, one and a half, it was a difficult situation. We've shown now we have good players and some older players and some young players.

"We have a good mix and I think it's good for Dutch football."

Virgil van Dijk has shrugged off the peculiar feature of England supporters booing him throughout the Nations League Finals.

Van Dijk headed into the inaugural UEFA event on the back of a stunning season for Liverpool, capped with Champions League glory after claiming the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Players' Player of the Year award.

While that underlined the esteem in which the 27-year-old is held by his fellow professionals, a sizable number of England fans booed his every touch during last Thursday's 3-1 semi-final win over Gareth Southgate's side after extra time in Guimaraes.

Some of the English contingent at Sunday's final in Porto, which hosts Portugal won 1-0 thanks to Goncalo Guedes' 60th-minute strike, continued this treatment but Van Dijk was unconcerned.

"I don't really care if somebody boos me or boos the team, we're trying to win the game," he said.

"We know we have a lot of support behind us anyway and at the end of the day it's us players who have to do the job. It doesn't affect me at all."

It proved a frustrating night for the Dutch at Estadio do Dragao, but Van Dijk is excited by what the future holds for a team that has bounced back impressively from missing out on both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, under the guidance of head coach Ronald Koeman.

"We have to be proud of ourselves, we made big progress as a team, in and out of the pitch, so we have to keep going and make sure we qualify for the Euros [in 2020]," he said.

Portugal set up with William Carvalho and Danilo Pereira in a robust midfield to counter the influence of Frenkie de Jong, while providing a solid platform for their own creative talents such as Bernardo Silva, who was named Player of the Tournament.

"It's a totally different team we faced [to England]," Van Dijk added, having rarely tussled with Cristiano Ronaldo despite pre-match anticipation of an absorbing duel.

"I think they waited for our mistakes, they sat back a little bit and let us have the ball.

"The pace of the game was not high, especially the first half, but I don't think they had too [many] big chances and were a bit luckier in the end than we were."

Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to lead Portugal in a drive for more silverware after their Nations League triumph.

The Juventus forward was the leading scorer at the Nations League Finals thanks to his semi-final hat-trick against Switzerland.

He then helped his country defeat Netherlands 1-0 in Sunday's title match, when Goncalo Guedes netted the only goal.

And 34-year-old Ronaldo intends to remain available to Portugal for as long as the team continue to make progress, with the Euro 2020 trophy next in the captain's sights as they look to defend the title they won in France three years ago.

He said: "The national team will continue, with or without Cristiano. I think the team has great potential. There are young players, players who over the years will become more mature and better.

"I want to be part of this project because I feel good and I feel able to help the national team."

Ronaldo also told uefa.com: "I think the national team has the potential to continue to evolve and win more trophies."

With 88 goals in 158 appearances for his country, he is the highest scoring European in international football history.

The former Real Madrid frontman said landing a winner's medal from the inaugural Nations League gave him enormous satisfaction.

"A lot of happiness!" he said. "It was excellent, I'm very happy. Having won this trophy here in Portugal in front of the Portuguese people, for me this is a great honour."

Ajax and Netherlands star Matthijs de Ligt revealed Cristiano Ronaldo asked him if he would join Juventus next season.

De Ligt, 19, is expected to make a big-money move from Ajax in the close season, with Paris Saint-Germain or Barcelona reportedly his most likely destinations.

But Juve star Ronaldo wasted no time trying to get the defender to Turin after Portugal edged Netherlands 1-0 in the Nations League final on Sunday.

Asked if Ronaldo had questioned if he would be his team-mate at Juventus, De Ligt told NOS: "That could be true, yes.

"I didn't understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed, but I didn't say anything.

"Shortly after the game you are not at all concerned with it, you are disappointed you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about."

Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the centre-back, who enjoyed a stellar 2018-19 as Ajax reached the Champions League semi-finals.

But De Ligt is looking forward to a break before his future is decided, saying: "I will first go on a nice vacation and rest.

"I will let it happen and then I will see."

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman believes his team need to find greater attacking potency to truly become a force on the world stage again.

Portugal won the inaugural Nations League title by beating Koeman's men 1-0 in Porto on Sunday – Goncalo Guedes firing home decisively with an hour played.

Progress to that point required victories over Germany, France and England and represents a considerable resurgence for a nation that failed to qualify for either Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup.

But while elite performances from the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have laid the groundwork for an exciting era, Koeman does have to contend with a lack of depth in attack.

Memphis Depay passed up a glorious headed chance during the second half, one a specialist in the number nine position might have eaten up, and it is clear to their boss where Netherlands' weakness lies.

"We want to go on and push forward. We were not good enough, perhaps that is the case for tonight," Koeman told a post-match news conference.

"But that is putting it negatively knowing the whole campaign we've had. We knew we had to be at our best and we were not.

"We know we made big steps in one year in the campaign of the Nations League. Against Germany, France, England, Portugal – maybe four of the strongest five or six teams in Europe.

"To make the next step maybe we need more time, more offensive strength is really important. To create more chances, to have what we missed tonight.

"Portugal, as we expected, were very solid as a team. They are used to playing that way. They have had more time together than us.

"They are handsome in front, maybe we missed some of that creativity in our attacking play."

Nevertheless, Koeman was keen to underline praise for his players and the tournament he feels helped to galvanise them.

"I think it's great tournament if you look back through the whole season, if you see how happy Portugal was to win this prize," he added.

"The intensity in the group was really high and the idea to organise the Nations League was a perfect one. We are looking forward to the next one."

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos revealed how shackling Netherlands' Frenkie de Jong was a key factor in his side's Nations League final success.

The host nation emerged victorious at the end of the inaugural edition of the tournament, prevailing 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday thanks to Goncalo Guedes' strike on the hour.

Afterwards, captain Cristiano Ronaldo held the trophy aloft – just as he had done at Euro 2016 – as Santos further enhanced his reputation as a shrewd international coach.

Midfielder De Jong, who is set to depart Ajax for Barcelona ahead of the 2019-20 season, was singled out by Santos as the man most likely to control the tempo for Netherlands – something the Portugal coach was not prepared to permit.

"De Jong plays normally on the left closer to Bruno Fernandes. [Marten] de Roon played closer to [William] Carvalho," said Santos. 

"We were aware of the qualities of these midfielders of the Dutch team and De Jong; a great creator with great potential.

"We knew that if we curtailed his freedom we would stand to gain. My players' instructions were to play the ball whenever they had it and to balance our defence by keeping an eye out to curtail the freedom De Jong and [Virgil] van Dijk would have."

When it was first conceived, the Nations League was met with much trepidation, but Santos felt the tournament had been a success and will continue to prove so, although he was unwilling to take praise for his own part in Portugal's triumph.

"This is the first edition of this tournament. I am sure this tournament will become a classic," he said. "The whole European family plays and to have won the first edition is a joy. It will go down in history.

"I don't enjoy talking about myself. My work must be assessed by others, by you journalists, by the fans. What I will take with me from my job is the love I feel when I go about my everyday life."

And Santos felt such a victory on home soil would leave a lasting legacy upon the sport in his nation.

"It will leave a huge mark on Portuguese football to have played in these Finals. The World Cup did not go as we hoped but this team marks the future," added the 64-year-old.

"The future is here. If we look back to 2016, most of these brilliant teams are no longer here. This is an ongoing process and it speaks of what Portuguese football is.

"We don't have the financial wherewithal to keep them [top players] in Portugal. They are scattered all through Europe, but the future of Portuguese football is secured."

Frenkie de Jong believes Netherlands' run to the Nations League final means the Oranje are a force to be reckoned with once again on the international stage.

After finishing third at the 2014 World Cup, Netherlands failed to reach each of the next two major tournaments and few would have fancied them to progress from A Nations League group starring Germany and France.

But under the guidance of Ronald Koeman, a rejuvenated side finished top of the pool, before defeating England 3-1 after extra time in Thursday's semi-final.

There was to be no silverware, though, as Goncalo Guedes' solitary strike ensured the inaugural crown went the way of hosts Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday.

"We have shown that everyone must now take us seriously," said De Jong, who was named young player of the tournament and will be joining Barcelona from Ajax ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. 

"We have gained more experience from these Finals. We still have to qualify for the European Championship final round, but we will certainly benefit from these experiences.

"As a team if you're so close to a trophy you want to win it. We didn't play our best match, but this is an experience we can take on board for next year's Euros, where we hope to do better.

"We did not do enough in the build-up. I myself did not. We found too few solutions between the lines. The game against England was tough, but that should not be an excuse.

"I'd rather win the tournament with the team, but it's always an honour to win the individual trophy so I feel honoured to have been given it."

Bernardo Silva expressed his pride at winning his first trophy with Portugal as he secured a fitting end to a hugely successful season with Nations League glory against Netherlands.

The midfielder set up the only goal of the game at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, finding Goncalo Guedes with a clever reverse pass before the Valencia forward rifled home.

Silva was named player of the tournament after the final, adding yet another piece of silverware at the end of a 2018-19 campaign that delivered the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with Manchester City.

"For me to finish this way it's just amazing, I'm so, so happy with my season, so happy to end it this way with these fantastic people that helped us over the past two games and now it's time to rest and prepare for next season and try to do even better," he told Sky Sports.

"I'm very proud, the most important thing is Portugal won, I'm very proud to have won the first title with my country and of course if you can add to that the [individual] awards you just said, it's even better.

"I'm very proud of my work, very happy at the moment."

On the decisive goal, Silva added: "I don't remember who played the ball to me but it was a great pass.

"I heard Guedes shout 'Bernardo!'. I didn't really see where he was but I slid the ball sideways and happily he produced a great finish."

Virgil van Dijk believes Netherlands continue to make impressive strides despite their Nations League final defeat at the hands of Portugal.

Goncalo Guedes' strike on the hour secured a 1-0 victory for the hosts at the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, adding a second piece of major international silverware to go alongside Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph.

Few would have fancied Netherlands – who failed to qualify for that tournament as well as last year's World Cup in Russia – to reach the inaugural Nations League Finals.

However, after they won a group containing Germany and France, Van Dijk feels Ronald Koeman's side are showing encouraging signs 12 months out from Euro 2020.

"This should not ruin our development," the Liverpool defender told NOS after the loss to Portugal. "We are taking major steps as a team, and we must continue to do so. We can be proud of ourselves."

Speaking to Sky Sports, Van Dijk added: "Obviously we're disappointed we didn't win the final, but we have to congratulate them [Portugal] as well. We were a bit unlucky today but we have to be very proud of ourselves, keep our heads up, get a well-deserved holiday now and after that make sure we're ready for the qualification.

"At the start of the tournament I don't think anyone would have believed us if we'd said we're going to reach the final. We made a lot of progress, we have to be very proud of ourselves. Now, disappointment is the thing in our heads but we have to keep our heads up.

"It's been a good season, but hopefully next season will be even better. That's what I'm striving for and it's the only thing that you have to do. I'll get a good break and then make sure I'm more than ready for pre-season."

Van Dijk was a key figure in Liverpool's remarkable 2018-19 Premier League campaign, which saw the European champions amass 97 points but still finish second to Manchester City.

"That's what we want to compete again for and obviously [Euro 2020] qualification for the national team is the most important thing for us, we know it, so we'll give everything that we've got and obviously with Liverpool we'll try to compete again with City because they're not going away and neither are we," he said.

In the 28th minute it happened. The titanic confrontation we'd all be waiting for. Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Except, things never really heated up from there. Of course they didn't. That was never really Ronaldo's intention.

The build-up to this match, where a 1-0 win over Netherlands crowned Portugal the inaugural Nations League champions, focused on how the how battle between Europe's best defender this season and the continent's greatest international goalscorer of all time might play out.

Ronaldo has five Ballons d'Or and is hungry for a sixth, although there is a growing clamour for Van Dijk's imperious displays with Champions League winners Liverpool this season to be recognised.

Earlier incarnations of Ronaldo – think of the Madrid-bound Manchester United tyro who signed off with a 2-0 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona, but not before cramming a ludicrous number of shots into the opening 10 minutes – would have charged headlong into the Van Dijk confrontation.

But the 34-year-old version loiters on the fringes of games. Player of the Tournament Bernardo Silva was the attacking inspiration as Portugal tightened their grip on the opening 45 minutes, all twinkling feet and bustling energy. Bruno Fernandes fired five of the hosts' 12 shots before the break in something of a quantity over quality contribution.

Ronaldo still occasionally indulges such trigger-happy tendencies. Silva covered 13.7 kilometres in Manchester City's Premier League win over Liverpool this season, work that Ronaldo would certainly not see himself having any part of nowadays

Why should he? For all their stylistic differences, this is the big late-career convergence between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

They've seen these patterns of play, these ebbs and flows over and over. They know they are better than pretty much anyone else who has laced boots. Why get involved in the hustle and bustle more likely to magnify the ravages of age when you can watch, wait and produce game-sealing brilliance?

Ronaldo's hat-trick in this week's semi-final was a fine demonstration of that approach in action, thumping home a free-kick and seeing the game drift before going bang-bang late on to seal the deal.

The other side of this equation is ceding absolute control of events. When Messi's Barcelona were ransacked by Liverpool in the Champions League, he appeared a victim of circumstances his team-mates could not bring back into his gasp. Ronaldo had a similar experience against many of his Sunday opponents when Ajax did for Juventus.

Thankfully for him, with the relentless Silva at his side, this chance to lift silverware before an adoring public was never likely to pass him by.

Where Frenkie de Jong was able to bend England to his will in midweek, the Dutch midfield master found himself more concerned with events behind him in Porto. Which pocket of space was Silva going to dart into next? When would he stop running? Would he ever?

The silky touches thrill those in the stands, but it is Silva's sheer relentlessness that make him a nightmare to play against. Like an immaculate classic car powered by a thundering and unfailing diesel engine.

He snuck between the lines decisively with an hour played, teeing up Goncalo Guedes for a fabulous finish.

In the end, there was no need for Ronaldo to engage in the heavyweight tussle when Portugal's brilliant bantamweight was going through his repertoire, even winning headers against Matthijs de Ligt in his own penalty area and weaving around De Jong again to run down the clock.

Head coach Fernando Santos still thinks Portugal will be able to call upon a 37-year-old Ronaldo at the 2022 World Cup. The sight of the superstar forward embracing Silva immediately after the full-time whistle suggests he knows just how important his country's latest world-class star will be in effectively realising that dream.

Portugal secured Nations League glory on Sunday as Goncalo Guedes' second-half strike earned a 1-0 victory over Netherlands at the Estadio do Dragao.

The host nation had been touted as favourites ahead of the inaugural Finals and they lived up to that billing in Porto, adding more major silverware to their European Championship triumph three years ago.

Cristiano Ronaldo had netted a hat-trick in the 3-1 semi-final win over Switzerland but he was kept relatively quiet on this occasion by Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.

Instead it was left to Guedes to settle matters, exchanging passes with Bernardo Silva and smashing home from the edge of the box, although Jasper Cillessen may feel he could have done better.

Cillessen, winning his 50th cap, was the busier goalkeeper in the opening half-hour, although he was only called upon to make a trio of routine saves – twice from Bruno Fernandes long-range efforts either side of gathering Jose Fonte's header.

Fernandes remained a threat, curling narrowly over from the edge of the box as the hosts continued to look likeliest to score as the interval approached.

Netherlands were sharper after the break and Rui Patricio got down smartly to thwart Georginio Wijnaldum, but on the hour Portugal had the goal their play deserved.

Guedes found Silva, who returned the ball with a nicely disguised pass, and the Valencia man rifled into the bottom-right corner via the left hand of Cillessen.

Patricio saved impressively from Memphis Depay's header as Netherlands sought a swift response but the closest they came was Marten de Roon firing over from 20 yards as Portugal held on to lift another major international trophy.

 

What does it mean? Another trophy for Santos

Portugal's Euro 2016 success was built upon the foundation of a solid defensive base, but their Nations League semi-final win over Switzerland was a thoroughly entertaining affair and Fernando Santos' side were a far superior attacking force against Netherlands.

Ronaldo picks his battles

Portugal's talisman started off in a central role but, as the game wore on, he could be seen drifting out to the left with greater frequency. Perhaps frustrated by being so well shackled by De Ligt and Van Dijk, the Juventus star left a hole that Silva and Guedes surged into for the winner.

Oranje lacking penetration

In Van Dijk and De Ligt, Netherlands have a centre-back pairing that is the envy of world football. But their starting front three of Ryan Babel, Steven Bergwijn and Depay were largely ineffective on this occasion. Ronald Koeman will be praying his forwards can match the standards set by his imperious backline.

What's next?

Portugal return to Euro 2020 qualifying with a trip to Serbia in September, when Netherlands will face a crunch clash against rivals Germany.

The outcome of an anticipated titanic battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk is likely to have a huge say in whether Portugal or Netherlands win the inaugural Nations League.

A stunning hat-trick from Ronaldo saw hosts Portugal to a 3-1 semi-final win over Switzerland, while Van Dijk played with typical composure in a game otherwise laced with defensive errors in Guimaraes – the Netherlands coming from behind to beat England 3-1 in extra time.

Van Dijk was named the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year on account of his imperious form for Liverpool and scooped man-of-the-match honours as Jurgen Klopp's side won the Champions League final against Tottenham last weekend.

As such there is an increasing clamour for the 27-year-old to be in contention for the Ballon d'Or, but, at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, a five-time winner of the award will be doing everything to ensure Van Dijk's excellent season ends on a low note.

Using Opta data, we have a look two phenomenal campaigns that will collide and conclude in Porto.

Ronaldo – Hitting the ground running in Italy

21 – On his debut season at Juventus, Ronaldo struck 21 times in Serie A. Of that haul, 16 came after half-time. No player in the division scored more second-half goals.

18 – Those goals carried a decisive weight and were worth 18 points to Juve, who won an eighth consecutive Scudetto.

14 – Ronaldo's goals came against 14 different teams. Only John Charles (1957-58) and Brazil great Ronaldo (1997-98) scored against more teams in their first Serie A campaigns (both 15).

177 – Across Europe's top five leagues in 2018-19, no player attempted more shots than Ronaldo.

85 – But this did not come to the detriment of his team-mates. Ronaldo's 85 successful lay-offs were the most in Italy's top flight this term.

Van Dijk – Get past him if you can

64 – No player has successfully dribbled past Van Dijk in 64 games across all competitions for Liverpool. This run includes all 38 of his Premier League appearances this season and stretches back to 47 league games – a streak that began in March last year.

20 – No outfield player kept more clean sheets in Europe's top five leagues.

30 – Similarly, no outfield player won more games in those competitions than Van Dijk this season.

76.3 – The Dutchman boasts the highest percentage success rate of any player in the Premier League contesting more than 50 duels. Of 321, he won 245.

182 – Van Dijk won 182 of 243 aerial duels (74.9 per cent). Only Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire won a higher percentage of players to have contested 25 or more.

2,724 – In terms of successful passes among Premier League defenders, Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte (2,768) is the only player to have completed more than Van Dijk.

Page 1 of 7
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.