Dutchman Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won their sixth European Cup last season with a 2-0 Champions League final victory over Tottenham in Madrid.
The 28-year-old is the first defender to win the award since the inaugural edition in 2010-11.
He moved to Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a then-world record fee for a defender of £75 million, immediately helping them reach that season’s Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid.
But Van Dijk was a key figure as Liverpool won their first major trophy since 2012 last term, while also setting a club-record points tally in finishing second by a point behind Manchester City in the Premier League.
Messi and Ronaldo had claimed five of the previous eight awards between them, with Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.
Full-back Bronze won the Women’s Champions League title with Lyon before helping England reach the women’s World Cup semi-finals.
The 27-year-old Bronze is the first English player to win either of the UEFA player of the year titles. (AFP)