The Dutch defender enjoyed an exceptional 2018-19 season, helping the Reds win the UEFA Champions League title and accrue 97 points as they finished second to Manchester City in the Premier League.
Van Dijk is now arguably the best centre-back in the world and was only beaten to The Best FIFA Men's Player award by Messi earlier this year. The second prestigious individual award, hosted by France Football, will be handed out in December, for which Van Dijk, Messi and Ronaldo have all been included in the 30-man shortlist.
Speaking about the prospect of winning the Ballon d'Or, Van Dijk said it would be a privilege to be crowned the world's best player, per Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror:
"Can I win? There is going to be an answer to that on December 2! For me to be called in the same breath, for last season's performances, to win the Ballon d'Or is something special. We'll see what is going to come out of it.
"[I need to] keep playing, week in, week out, at the highest level I can play at. I try to keep improving myself in training with the experience I gain from every game, and I just stay fit as well. That's a massive part of playing at a consistent level—staying fit and hopefully playing all the big games."
After his nomination for the accolade was confirmed, Van Dijk posted the following on his Twitter account:
B/R Football's Dean Jones thinks the Liverpool defender would be a worthy winner of the title after his success last term:
Following Liverpool's come-from-behind 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday, football writer Leanne Prescott praised the quality of the Dutchman:
Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne
Can be easy to forget defensive work when a point blank tackle isn’t made, but Van Dijk’s positional awareness & reading of the game through headers & interceptions alleviated the danger before Spurs could get there at times. A colossal display for the billionth time in #LFC Red.
Van Dijk has had a transformative influence on the Liverpool team. Last season he helped them establish one of the meanest defences in the game.
The 28-year-old is imperious at the base of the team. Physically, he's powerful and pacey, while his understanding of the game and ability to organise a back line is unrivalled.
In one-on-one situations he's outstanding, too, as the Premier League Twitter account noted earlier in the campaign:
Messi also enjoyed a remarkable 2018/19, steering Barcelona to the La Liga title with some mesmerising performances. Meanwhile, Ronaldo was a Serie A title-winner in his first season at Juventus.
Van Dijk would be a worthy winner, too, especially after contributing to a strong start to the 2019-20 season for the Reds as well. Following their win over Tottenham, Liverpool are six points clear of defending champions Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.