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Virgil van Dijk must win UEFA Player of the Year. Here’s why

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The UEFA Men’s Player of the Year winner will be announced at a glitzy ceremony in Monaco on Thursday.

UEFA revealed its three man shortlist on August 15 and Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Virgil van Dijk were nominated as Europe’s triumvirate of top performers.

All three had excellent individual seasons. Van Dijk captained Liverpool to its sixth Champions League title; Messi tallied 51 goals in all competitions for Barcelona, scooping his tenth La Liga title in the process; while Ronaldo won his first Scudetto with Juventus and the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals with Portugal.

Read more: A former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo has blasted the Juventus forward as an ‘egotist’ who would ‘spend all day in the mirror’

So who should take home UEFA’s most coveted individual prize?

Well, the answer is clear — van Dijk.

Van Dijk channeled Gandalf the Grey last season

Gandalf famously bellowed “you shall not pass” at the Balrog on The Bridge of Khazad-dum in “The Lord of the Rings.”

You know the scene. And if you replace Sir Ian McKellen with Van Dijk, and the fiery winged hell-dragon trying to pass him with opposition players, you have a pretty accurate metaphor depicting the Dutchman’s season.

Not one player managed to dribble past Van Dijk during the whole of the 2018-2019. That’s 56 games for club and country in which no-one made it past the him without losing the ball — including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, whom he competed against on three occasions.

J.R.R Tolkein might describe van Dijk’s season as lacaraitë, which is Elvish for unreal. And when combined with the 26 clean sheets he helped Liverpool keep last season, you’ve got yourself a bonafide defensive wizard.

Van Dijk shepherds Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min.
Photo by Getty/Marc Atkins

Fabio Cannavaro is the only defender in history to have won the Ballon d’Or or be named FIFA World Player of the Year, and no defender has claimed the title of UEFA Men’s Player of the Year.

Attack-minded players tend to be viewed more favorably when the votes are cast for these awards. And though van Dijk’s work helped revolutionize the backline at Liverpool FC, his attacking prowess cannot be overlooked.

The Dutchman scored six goals for Liverpool last season, four of which came in the Premier League, and two in the Champions League, which included a decisive header against Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.

Read more: Liverpool FC is about to sign a Nike kit deal worth more than $91 million, the biggest in Premier League history

He also provided four assists for his teammates, including two in Europe, which is same amount as Cristiano Ronaldo managed, and only one less than Lionel Messi.

For his country, Van Dijk was equally as impressive in the attacking third, scoring three times in just eight games. That is the same return both Messi and Ronaldo managed for Argentina and Portugal respectively.

Reminder: van Dijk’s a centre back. It’s his job to prevent goals. He does that, while also creating and scoring them at the other end of the field.

van Dijk excelled in every competition

UEFA define that the winner of it’s Player of the Year award should be “judged in regard to their performances over the whole season in all competitions – both domestically and internationally – at either club, or national team level.”

Lionel Messi was brilliant in La Liga as always, and a good performer in the UEFA Champions League, too, with 12 goals. But the Argentine struggled internationally. He only scored once during the whole competition, and was sent off in Argentina’s third place play-off win over Chile.

Read more: Lionel Messi has been twice as good as Cristiano Ronaldo in the modern era, according to a computer algorithm

Ronaldo’s season acted as a counter to his rival. He excelled internationally for Portugal as the team won the inaugural UEFA Nations League, but he failed to take the Serie A by storm with Juventus, like he did in La Liga when he was at Real Madrid.

Cristiano and Ronaldo and Van Dijk met in the final of the UEFA Nations League.
Photo by Getty/Simon Stacpoole

The 34-year-old’s return of 21 goals and eight assists in Serie A is solid but inferior to what he accomplished in Spain. In the Champions League, he managed six goals, but his campaign was marred by a red card in the opening game against Valencia. His team was also banished by a young, and brilliant, Ajax team at the quarterfinal stage.

Van Dijk was consistently excellent. He was crucial throughout Liverpool’s sixth Champions League-winning campaign, he scooped the PFA Player of the Year award in the Premier League, and was a standout player for the Netherlands, who finished second behind Portugal.

  • Van Dijk prevented Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dribbling past him in each of his three encounters with the pair throughout the season.
  • Van Dijk scored as many times for his country last season as both Messi and Ronaldo, with all three managing three goals for their respective nations.
  • He also managed an equal amount of European assists for Liverpool as Ronaldo for Juventus, and only one less than Barcelona for Messi.
  • The Dutchman, a bonafide defensive wizard, excelled across every competition he played in for club and country, helping Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League final and Liverpool to the Champions League trophy.

The winner for Thursday’s UEFA Men’s Player of the Year is clear. It has to be van Dijk.



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China’s coronavirus might disrupt iPhone 12 production

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  • Apple’s supply chain could be seriously disrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, sources told Nikkei Asian Review.
  • The virus has hit just as Apple was reportedly preparing to start manufacturing a new smaller, cheaper iPhone model.
  • Most of Apple’s supply chain is in China and the company’s biggest manufacturing plant is in Henan province, which borders on Hubei province where the outbreak originated.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It looks like the rapid spread of the coronavirus in China could sting Apple’s iPhone supply chain, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review.

An anonymous supply chain executive told Nikkei the coronavirus — the current death toll for which stands at 106 at the time of writing — could make meeting production deadlines difficult.

“The [coronavirus] situation in China could affect the planned production schedule,” said the executive.

Apple is reportedly gearing up to start manufacturing a new model of iPhone that’s smaller and cheaper than the current generation, with rumors circulating that the new model will have a 5.4-inch screen and come out in fall of 2020. 

But the new more affordable iPhone could be hit by the disruption, with two sources telling Nikkei that although production was meant to start in the third week of February, that could change due to the outbreak.

Apple has also been on a more general production drive according to Nikkei, with industry sources saying 80 million iPhone units have been ordered for the first half of 2020 — up more than 10% from last year.

Wuhan, the city where the virus first originated, is currently on lockdown and five more cities in Hubei province have brought in restrictions on gatherings and transport. Nikkei notes that Apple has its main manufacturing centers in neighboring Henan and nearby Guangdong provinces. Henan contains Apple supplier Foxconn’s massive Zhengzhou factory, which employs upwards of 350,000 people and produces more than half of the world’s iPhones.

Last week Foxconn CEO Terry Gou advised Wuhan employees visiting Taiwan for the Lunar New Year not to return to China. “I advise everyone not to go to the mainland for this coming new year holiday,” he said.

Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.



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Digital Display Advertising 2019: Nine Trends to Know for This Year’s Media Plan – eMarketer

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  • At Business Insider Intelligence, our mission is to bring you the most important insights, data and analysis from the digital world. So when we come across outstanding research from our partners that we think our audience can benefit from, we like to make sure you hear about it. 
  • That’s why we’re giving you a preview of one of eMarketer’s most popular reports: Digital Display Advertising 2019: Nine Trends to Know for This Year’s Media Plan.
  • You can download the full report here.

Major changes are afoot for the digital marketing industry. Trends and influences prevalent in 2019 will continue to affect marketers in 2020 and beyond, leaving many with questions.

Will the duopoly’s hold finally start to dwindle?

No. In spite of mounting frustration and distrust from consumers and marketers, the latter will not turn away from the biggest players in the digital ad space.

eMarketer Chart

Copyright © 2019 eMarketer Inc.

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What will consumer demands for privacy and data control mean for marketers in 2019 and beyond?

Marketers are going to have to prepare for impending regulation and heightened privacy concerns, whether they want to or not. This will mean scrutinizing their data collection practices and making sure they are meeting regulatory requirements and consumer expectations.

Will the rollout of app-ads.txt happen in 2019?

It will, but adoption of the in-app version of ads.txt—a text file on publishers’ sites that lists vendors with permission to sell inventory—won’t flow to every corner, nor will it solve all the ad fraud woes that currently plague mobile app advertising.

Is the identity graph in trouble?

In some ways, yes. Apple’s ITP 2.2, continued ad avoidance, rises in falsified audience data sets and the California Consumer Privacy Act are all pulling at the strings of this fragile web.

Will it be harder for advertisers to move dollars from TV to digital?

Actually, it will become easier, thanks to mergers and acquisitions over the past year and the growing efforts of big networks and broadcasters to iron out measurement inconsistencies between TV and digital. However, don’t expect frequency capping issues to go away any time soon.

These are just a few of the questions, answers, and insights you’ll get from Digital Display Advertising 2019: Nine Trends to Know for This Year’s Media Plan



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Wuhan coronavirus compared to SARS is less severe than 2003 outbreak

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Eighty-one people have died from a coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, and at least 2,800 people have been infected across 13 countries.

The virus, which is marked by fevers and pneumonialike symptoms, likely originated in a wet market in Wuhan. Coronaviruses are zoonotic diseases (meaning they can jump from animals to people), so places where shoppers, vendors, and live and dead animals are put in close proximity can be breeding grounds for disease outbreaks.

The spread of this new virus has conjured a sense of déja vu for some people who remember the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that started in November 2002. That was also a coronavirus, and it also jumped to people from animals in wet markets. SARS emerged in Guangdong and infected 8,098 people over the course of eight months, killing 774. Patients experienced fevers, headaches, and a type of deadly pneumonia that could cause respiratory failure.

Experts called SARS “the first pandemic of the 21st century,” since it spread across 29 countries. The disease hasn’t been seen in humans since July 2003.

So far, experts say, concerns that the Wuhan coronavirus is the next SARS are overblown. The two virus’ symptoms and origins may be comparable, but their severity is not.

The new coronavirus appears to be less severe than the SARS, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday. It might be more contagious, however, given that this outbreak is spreading faster than SARS did.

Ma Xiaowei, minister of China’s National Health Commission, said people can transmit the coronavirus to one another during its 14-day incubation period, the South China Morning Post reported. By comparison, SARS’ average incubation period was seven days.

The illness can also jump between people before patients show symptoms, which makes it challenging for authorities to control the virus’ spread.

 “An initial first impression is that this is significantly milder than SARS. That’s reassuring,” Eric Toner, a senior scientist at John Hopkins University, told Business Insider. “On the other hand, it may be more transmissible than SARS, at least in the community setting.”

Here are some of the crucial differences between this outbreak and the SARS one 17 years ago.



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