Cristiano Ronaldo's sister Katia Aveiro hit back at Virgil van Dijk on Instagram after the defender joked that the Juventus forward wasn't a "rival" for this year's Ballon d'Or.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi claimed the coveted individual award for a sixth time in Paris on Monday, with Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk finishing second in the final voting.
Five-time winner Ronaldo did not attend the ceremony, instead choosing to make an appearance at the Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan to collect his ‘Best Player in Serie A’ award.
Van Dijk commented on the 34-year-old's absence during an interview with Dutch broadcaster RTL7 while on the red carpet, joking that he wasn't in the running to win the Ballon d'Or this time around anyway.
When asked if Ronaldo’s failure to show up meant that he had one less rival to compete with for the accolade, Van Dijk responded: "Was he a rival then?"
Ronaldo's sister Aveiro took to Instagram to vent her fury over Van Dijk's comments, expressing her belief that the Liverpool talisman is not in the same league as her brother.
"Now, dear Virgil, where you are going, Cristiano Ronaldo has gone and has come [back] a thousand times," she began.
"You see, my dear Virgil, that Cristiano Ronaldo was a three-times champion in the country where you have been playing for years and you still haven't got your hands on the trophy.
"Cristiano Ronaldo was even the best player and best scorer in the country where you play Virgil. By the way, he was even younger than you.
"Then, dear Virgil, Cristiano Ronaldo went to other places and became the greatest player in the history of club football.
"Real Madrid, [does that] tell you something, Virgil? Maybe so, because this club, with this Cristiano guy, even beat you in the Champions League final. Of these [Ballons d'Or], Ronaldo already has five, Virgil.
"And that fellow Ronaldo, and team-mates, crushed your 'Oranje' in a final. Was it hard, Virgil? We have pity. And, dear Virgil, in one of the least successful times of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has won even more titles than you. Awesome, isn't it?
"Now Virgil, [you go and] win titles that really count and then we'll talk. When you have a handful of them, the really important ones, you might be able to sit at the table with Cristiano. Or, as they say in our land, it grows and appears! For me, Cristiano you are and you will always be the best player in the world!!!"
Van Dijk, meanwhile, clarified his remarks after being mentioned by Piers Morgan on Twitter , insisting that he has nothing but respect for Ronaldo and that his "joke" was taken out of context.
He stated: "Hi Piers, if you would listen to the whole interview then you would know I only got respect for those two."