On Monday, Virgil van Dijk couldn’t resist a light-hearted dig at Cristiano Ronaldo at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony.
Star Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player for a record sixth time. This was Messi's first Ballon d'Or since 2015 and comes after he scored 54 times for club and country in 2018-19, in which Barcelona won La Liga, reports BBC Sport. Before 2015, the Barcelona forward had won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012. For the first time in nine years, Juventus and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo failed to finish in the top two of the Ballon d'Or award on Tuesday in Paris.
According to Times Now, while Van Dijk had nothing but uttermost respect for the Barcelona captain, the Netherlands defender had the exact opposite when he was asked about Ronaldo. Van Dijk told an interviewer that, "Cristiano won’t be here, so that’s already one rival less." "Was he a rival then?," the Dutchman replied with a smile.
Speaking before the ceremony, Van Dijk admitted he was proud to be nominated for the award – even if he is likely to lose out to Messi.
The Barcelona number 10 won this year's prize -- organised by France Football magazine and voted for by a panel of journalists from around the world -- ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, with Ronaldo third. It is the first time since 2010 that Ronaldo has failed to rank in the top two.
Having starred in the Liverpool team that won the Champions League, Van Dijk finished second to Messi just as he did in the voting for FIFA's equivalent prize, The Best, in September.