The experts have the Dutchman ahead of Messi in the race for the Ballon d’Or after his spectacular individual season earned Liverpool a Champions League trophy.
But Carragher feels the Argentine will walk away with his sixth title.
“I saw he’s gone ahead of Messi (in the running),” he told Sky Sports.
“I’d be thinking Messi to be honest – very rarely you see a centre-back get that.
“I think that Cannavaro got it on the back of winning the World Cup in 2006. I don’t think his game has changed too much over the season.
“He’s obviously had a great season but I think you’ve got to win big things and I think that Champions League has put that stamp on him being one of the world’s best.”
The 41-year-old admitted that Van Dijk has proven himself as a world class player but is not favourite for the prestigious individual trophy.
“I think when you win something big, that’s when you really cement yourself at that level and I think he is the best in the world in that position. He’s proven himself.
“But, Ballon d’Or, I think Messi.”
Lionel Messi has been speaking ahead of Barcelona’s final match of the season – and it’s news that every Blaugrana fan will want to hear.
The Spanish champions can complete a second straight domestic double when it faces Valencia on Saturday in the Copa del Rey final.
Barcelona has won a record 30 Copa del Rey titles, including the last four, but it was eliminated from the Champions League by Liverpool after blowing a 3-0 lead from the first leg.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde could have a lot riding on the outcome of the game against Valencia, which will be played on neutral turf in Seville.
He has presided over two catastrophic failures in the Champions League, including letting a 4-1 advantage slip against Roma last year, but Messi is in no doubt about where his future lies.
Watch his thoughts in the video above.
Brazil legend Ronaldo believes Lionel Messi is let off the hook too easily when Barcelona lose, as the repercussions from the club’s disastrous 4-0 defeat in the Champions League semi-final to Liverpool continue.
For the second straight season, Barcelona crashed out of the competition despite holding a three-goal lead going into the second leg, as they beat Liverpool 3-0 last week at home before Tuesday’s humiliating result. Last season, the club had beaten Roma 4-1 at home in the quarter-final, only to lose 3-0 in Rome to crash out on away goals.
Both losses saw Messi deliver below-par performances, the latest coming a week after his greatness had been hailed following a stunning free-kick in the first leg to make it 3-0.
Ronaldo, who played for both Barcelona and bitter rivals Real Madrid, says it is an “injustice” that the club captain is immune to criticism.
“It is unfair to point the culprits to a defeat,” he said at a Santander event, as reported by Goal. “I see that Barcelona has a great team and has the best player in the world, which is Messi.
“The other day I read that other players lost and Barca wins [because of] Messi. It is a tremendous injustice to all the players and the coaching staff.
“Barcelona is a great team with great players and very good coaches. You should be a little more careful with criticism.”
The two-time Ballon d’Or winner gave credit to Liverpool for their performance, acknowledging that their fourth goal was scored thanks to Barcelona’s defence switching off but adding that it would have come eventually anyway.
“[Liverpool] had more motivation, intensity and desire,” Ronaldo added. “In the first part, Barcelona had chances to score a goal that would have changed everything. But Liverpool deserved it. They have shown strength and emotional intelligence.
“In the fourth goal there was a mistake, but I think that if it had not [been scored], it would have arrived in a different way. They played the game of their lives. It’s a shame for Barcelona, because they played a great game in the first leg, we all enjoyed Messi.
“It’s a pity that there is not a Spaniard in the final, but Liverpool deserved it more.”