Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa slammed his Spanish national teammate Gerard Pique for a lack of respect towards his family.
Pique, who plays for rival club Barcelona in La Liga commented that "Arbeloa is not a friend, just someone I know" last December, which failed to get a response out of Arbeloa, until now.
"Many people told me 'you have to respond,' Arbeloa told La Galerna. "I have digested it enough.
"You usually heat up and respond straight away, but later you realise it is better to let the situation cool over and not say certain things."
This incident is not the first time Pique has launched a scathing attack on a Real Madrid player, and Arbeloa explained that he held himself back from an immediate response out of respect to the former Manchester United defender's family.
"I could explain to the world why I am not Pique's friend, but maybe he would not be in a good way if I did that.
"It's also true that I know his family, and the respect I have for them, he does not have for mine.
"Our families are important. We hear a lot of claptrap and more or less you don't care, but those close to you suffer.
Arbeloa also warned Pique that it will be a different ball game if the Barcelona man decides to attack Real Madrid in future.
"Thinking about that [Pique's comment], I preferred not to respond. If he attacked Real Madrid once again, I would have jumped, because I will defend them always.
"To attack me is different. This is my form of acting. To not respond is better than to say things that could have been said."
Both teams are engaged in a fierce battle at the top of the La Liga standings. Barcelona host Getafe on Saturday while Real Madrid travel to Las Palmas on Sunday.