Virgil van Dijk has been criticised by Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister Katia Aveiro after he joked about the Juventus forward’s no-show at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony.
Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d’Or to pip Liverpool’s Van Dijk and Ronaldo to the gong.
The 32-year-old held off the challenge of Holland centre-back Van Dijk, whose performances helped Liverpool to the Champions League title.
Van Dijk still finished ahead of five-time winner Ronaldo, with his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane fourth.
When asked by RTL7 about Ronaldo’s absence at the ceremony, Van Dijk joked: ‘Was he a rival then?’
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The light-hearted comment has not gone down well with Ronaldo’s sister, who took to Instagram to defend her sibling in a lengthy post.
“I think there are people living completely frustrated !!! And unrealistic… such humility!’ Katia wrote.
“It is well known that Ronaldo will not win tonight’s prize. Although I have won important collective titles … but this is another conversation and that up ahead we will see where the truth about football will come !!!
“Now, dear Virgil, where you are going, Cristiano Ronaldo has gone and has come a thousand times.
“You see, my dear Virgil, that Cristiano Ronaldo was a tri-champion in the country where you have been playing for years and you still haven’t got your hand in the can.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was even the best player and best scorer in the country where you play Virgil. By the way, I was even younger than you.
“Then, dear Virgil, Cristiano Ronaldo went to other places and became the greatest player in the history of a clubezito.
“Real Madrid, tell you something Virgil? Maybe so, because this club, with this Cristiano guy, even beat you in the Champions League final. Of these, Ronaldo already has five, Virgil.
“And that fellow Ronaldo and team-mates, with the corners on his chest, crushed your ‘orange’ in a final. Was it hard, Virgil? We have pity. And, dear Virgil, In one of the least successful times of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has won even more titles than you. Awesome, isn’t it?
“Now Virgil will win titles from those who really count and then we’ll talk. When you have a handful of them, the really important ones, you might be able to sit at the table with Cristiano. Or as they say in our land, it grows and appears!
“It’s for me Cristiano you are and you will always be the best player in the world !!! And who does not like to put it on the wheel of the plate !!! (as they say in our land, small for many) but where came the best ever.”