Virgil van Dijk Praises Messi And Ronaldo Following Ballon d'Or Ceremony Despite Being Criticised By Juventus Star's Sister

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has praised Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo following Monday night's Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris.
Van Dijk finished as runner-up, with Barcelona star Messi winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or. Ronaldo was in third place.

Before the ceremony van Dijk made a joke about Ronaldo's absence.

Asked about Ronaldo's absence, the Dutchman jokingly replied: 

Why? Was he a candidate?

That sparked an angry response from Ronaldo's sister Katia Aveiro, who stated that the Juventus winger 'will always be the best player in the world.'

However, van Dijk was eager to point out the respect that he has for both Messi and Ronaldo.

Van Dijk wrote on Twitter:

It was a great privilege to attend the 2019 Ballon d'Or last night.

I was humbled by the warm reception that I received in Paris and I'd like to say thank you to everyone who made us feel so welcome.

Firstly I'd like to congratulate Lionel Messi on winning your historic sixth Ballon d'Or.

As I also said last night at the ceremony, it's important to sit back and admire greatness when it's in front of you. Congratulations on another incredible year.

On a personal level it was an honour to be nominated and I'm extremely proud to have come second and in the same company as two of the greatest players to ever play the game in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

We've enjoyed some good battles this year and I hope there will be many more to come.

I am proud of my journey and I hope that my route in the game can help inspire others to always believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams.

I am hungry for more success on the pitch and will be working as hard as I can to keep improving and to continue to strive to be the best that I can be.

It's been an incredible 2019 so far but none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my family, thank you for always being there.

I must also say a huge thank you again to all of my teammates at Liverpool and the national team.

Finally thank you to everyone in the football world for all of your messages of support, it means a lot to me and my family.

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