Lionel Messi opens up on Ballon d'Or row with Robert Lewandowski
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Lionel Messi opens up on Ballon d’Or row with Robert Lewandowski

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Messi picked up his seventh Ballon d’Or two years ago and insisted in his speech that Lewandowski – then at Bayern Munich – should have been handed the cancelled award in 2020.

The Poland striker would later win Best FIFA men’s player for 2021, though did not receive a vote from Messi. At the time, Lewandowski admitted this snub was ‘difficult to relate to’ and could not understand why Messi’s opinion of him had changed after a year.

In an interview with ESPN, Messi admitted to giving Lewandowski the cold shoulder during Argentina’s 2022 World Cup clash with Poland due to these comments.

“His statement bothered me. Because when I won the Ballon d’Or and said what I said, I really felt it,” Messi said of Lewandowski. “And for him to speak the way he spoke, it bothered me. Afterwards we crossed paths, we spoke and it was a misunderstanding.

“I dribbled past him because it was him. I was upset, I thought what he said didn’t fit. He was hot. Then he went to Barcelona, ​​we talked a lot about the club, the city and everything was fine.”

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This interview came shortly after Argentina teammate Angel Di Maria revealed Messi purposely and obviously targeted Lewandowski during their 2-0 win against Poland last year.

“Even my grandmother realised that Messi was deliberately confronting Lewandowski,” Di Maria said during the Star+ documentary remembering Argentina’s triumph in Qatar.

“These are things about him that remain inside him sometimes. When someone talks about him, he ends up throwing it at you.

“There are people who talk and don’t respect him, and don’t realise that he is the best player in history. So you don’t have to tell him anything, because in the end he ends up getting angry and it makes things worse [for opponents].”

[via]

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