Something to do with 51 goals last year I imagine
Probably a large part of that, but him and Ronaldo hit them figures and then some every season but Modric won it last year. It's basically an award for Madrid and Barca, dating back to since Zidane won it whilst at Juve back in 2000, only twice has a team other than Madrid or Barca had a player win it; Kaka in 07 at Milan and Ronaldo in 08 at the Mancs.
I know in that time frame, 07/08 onwards, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated everything in football and the majority of the time they have deserved to win it, but there's also been times they've wrongly won it over the likes of Ribery, Sneijder, Iniesta and now Virgil.
But yeah it's basically a top scorer award more often that not. Which the likes of Messi will always win, of course Virgil can't hit them numbers, but then Messi wouldn't be able to hit the numbers and perform to the level Virgil does in defence which is something they don't seem to take into account.
Messi and Ronaldo are arguably the two greatest players of all time, but this is an award based on performances over a season, not a career and there's been times they haven't been the best over a season. Then they use the narrative of whoever wins the CL will likely win it (when either Madrid or Barca are in the final), if it's not that then they will often try and fit the narrative to whoever wins or is the closest to winning an international tournament (Ronaldo winning it for being a cheerleader in the Euro 2016 final).
It's great when someone from us does get the recognition they deserve but the fact Virgil has missed out on this and not a single City player made the world 11, whilst Marcelo, Ramos and Modric did just says it all really. They will recognise the accomplishments of some but when it comes down to the world 11 or up against Messi/Ronaldo, it's all politics and a popularity contest.
Bit of a drawn out post and seems like bit of a rant, apologies that it probably reads that way.