Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk jokingly questioned whether Cristiano Ronaldo was one of his rivals to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or at the ceremony in Paris on Monday evening.
The Reds star is the favourite to take home the award alongside Lionel Messi after he played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s sixth European triumph last season.
The Netherlands captain was asked on the red carpet what he made of Ronaldo’s rumoured absence from the event, and he replied by questioning whether the Portuguese was truly in the race to win.
When asked what it would be like having one of his rivals not show up, the 28-year-old responded: “Was he a rival then?”
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It is believed Ronaldo is attending the annual Italian football awards in Milan instead of the Ballon d’Or event.
The 34-year-old striker, who has won the individual honour five times, 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 season in Italy.