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'Cristiano was a rival?' - Van Dijk jokes about Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or no-show as Messi triumphs

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has poked fun at Ballon d'Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo for not showing up to the awards ceremony in Paris, joking that he didn't realise the Juventus man was in the running to win.

Lionel Messi won his sixth Ballon d'Or trophy on Monday evening, finishing ahead of Van Dijk and Ronaldo in the voting, with the Juve striker noticeably absent from the event.

Van Dijk, who was bidding to become to the first defender to win the Ballon d'Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, was asked about Ronaldo's absence from the ceremony, with the 28-year-old joking: "Why, was he a candidate to win?