But despite the agony of falling short a year after a probable win before the award was scrapped altogether due to Covid, Lewandowski has clarified his reaction to the speech, insisting “they weren’t empty words”.
“Messi’s words towards me [about the Ballon d’Or] really touched me,” Lewandowski told Bild. “They weren’t empty words, it was a nice moment in my career.
“I only spoke a few words with Leo [face to face], because my Spanish is not that good. I spoke with Kylian [Mbappe] in English, he then translated for Leo. It was a great night.
“It’s about little details,” Lewandowski added when considering a future bid for the award. “Everything has to be in place. What I can guarantee is that I’ll continue doing my job and bring my best performances.”
Messi maintains that the Polish star “deserved” the award last year and that “everyone knows” it.
“I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you,” Messi said after collecting the 2021 Ballon d’Or trophy.
“Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year.
“I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or - you deserve it and you should have it at home.
“I think Robert Lewandowski had a great year. Year after year, he improves and shows the excellent striker he is, as well as his ability to score goals.
“This year he was awarded as the top scorer. Of course he can certainly aspire to that level next year, thanks to his way of being on the pitch. And in addition, he plays for a big club.”
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