Robert Lewandowski has insisted that Lionel Messi’s speech at the Ballon d’Or ceremony last week was ’empty’.
Messi acknowledged that Lewandowski deserved the prize for 2020, and called on event organizers, France Football, to retrospectively hand the Pole his gong but the Lewandowski was unmoved by Messi’s comments, labeling them ‘empty words’ before insisting that he does not care for a token reward.
“I’m not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award. 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,” Lewandowski told Kanale Sportowym via Marca.
The 33-year-old admitted that he was sad that he didn’t win the award but was glad that he competed with the best in the game.
“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,” he added.
Messi controversially pipped Lewandowski to the 2021 prize, with many fans and pundits opining that the Polish marksman was more deserving of the award.