Lionel Messi’s tribute to Robert Lewandowski at last week’s Ballon d’Or event left the Bayern Munich star unsatisfied, as he ( Lewandowski) aggresively dismissed his rival’s remarks as “empty words.”
Messi, 34, controversially won the 2021 award over Lewandowski, 33, despite many fans and analysts believing the Polish marksman was more merited.
The Bayern Munich striker was the standout performance in 2020, but he was tragically denied the Ballon d’Or that year because to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the award to be canceled.
Messi admitted that Lewandowski earned the trophy for 2020 in his acceptance speech, and urged event organizers, France Football, to award the Pole his award retrospectively.
“Last year, everyone agreed that you were the winner and I think that France Football should give you the Ballon d’Or that you deserve,” he said.
However, the 33-year-old was unmoved by Messi’s comments, labelling them ‘empty words’ before insisting that he does not care for a token reward.
“I’m not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award,’ Lewandowski told Kanale Sportowym via Marca.
“I would like it [Messi’s 2020 Ballon d’Or statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just an empty words.’
Reflecting on last week’s near-miss, Lewandowski said: “I felt sadness. I can’t deny it.
“I can’t say I was happy, on the contrary. I have a feeling of sadness. To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.”
Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Lewandowski has scored 130 goals in 108 games, and his failure to win the Golden Boot will act as inspiration for his Bayern Munich colleagues, according to Thomas Muller.