Liverpoolstar Virgil van Dijk has been slammed by Piers Morgan for his dig atCristiano Ronaldoon the red carpet ahead of the 2019 Ballon d’Or awards. The Holland defender was asked what he made of Ronaldo’s absence at the event for a second year in a row.
Van Dijk responded by questioning whether the 34 – year-old was truly in the race to win at the event anyway.
When asked what it would be like having one of his rivals not show up, the 28 – year-old replied: “Was he a rival then?”
But Morgan has not taken kindly to the Liverpool star’s remarks and believes Ronaldo is in a different league to the Champions League winner.
Ballon d’Or 2019: Virgil van Dijk spoke about Cristiano Ronaldo on the red carpet(Image: GETTY)
He exclaimed: “No .. @Cristiano is a far greater player, you’re not in his league.”
Ronaldo did not attend the ceremony and instead went to the annual Italian football awards in Milan.
The Juventus forward will be there to pick up his trophy for winning the Italian Football Association’s Footballer of the Year for 2019, after winning Serie A in his first full season at the club.
It won’t be the first time Ronaldo hasn’t attended the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Last year winner Luka Modric was asked a similar question to Van Dijk shortly afte r he lifted the award for the first time, and he was far from happy with both Ronaldo and Messi for not showing up.
The Croatia international won the award thanks to his superb performances for both Real Madrid and Croatia.
Modric said: “I cannot say why someone did not attend – that’s their choice, that is logical, is it not?
“It turns out these choices and trophies only have value when they get them.
“It is not fair to their playing colleagues, or to the voters who have nominated them for the past 10 years – nor for football or supporters. ”
Lionel Messi is expected to win this year award despite Van Dijk winning the Champions League with Liverpool last season.
The 2019 Women’s Ballon d’Or was int to Megan Rapinoe .
The Kopa Trophy for the best young player in the world went to Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was awarded for his exploits and was named the best shot stopper.