"I am very proud to be in that bracket, to be in there for the way I performed with the team past year and also with the country", Van Dijk said.
Speaking in front of a star-studded crowd inside the iconic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, Van Dijk admitted he never believed he would be in the running for such a huge solo prize.
The Liverpool and Holland defender placed second in the Ballon d'Or stakes, as Messi picked up the prestigious honour for a record sixth time.
The top five Ballon d'Or winners list is completed by Michel Platini, Johan Cryuff and Marco van Basten, all of whom won the award on three occasions. I am going to be there for a reason and there are no losers on the evening.
"It is just something to be proud of because not a lot of players go there and are up for these kind of things. We will see what happens".
Elsewhere there was a win for Van Dijk's centre-back pairing for the Dutch national team as Matthijs de Ligt became the second recipient of The Kopa Trophy, succeeding Kylian Mbappé, which is presented to the best performing player under the age of 21.
The 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or were announced in October.
Messi and Van Dijk have been regarded as the best two contestants to win the Ballon D'Or this past year. "That's Virgil. We will see", Klopp said. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am.
Last year's victor Luka Modric was brought on stage by emcee Didier Drogba to give his Barcelona rival the award - a nice gesture given that Messi wasn't in attendance to see the Croatian pick up the award in 2018.