Soccer  

Lewandowski rejects issue with Messi over Ballon d’Or award

Robert Lewandowski said there are no ill feelings towards Lionel Messi surrounding the 2020 Ballon d’Or and engaged in an awkward exchange with a journalist at Poland’s news conference on Friday.

The awarding of the 2020 award was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Messi later asked for Lewandowski to be handed the award anyway in recognition of the star striker’s remarkable season with Bayern Munich.

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Lewandowski played a key role in helping Bayern complete the Quadruple in 2020 but Messi won the prestigious prize after leading Argentina to Copa America glory that year.

The striker reportedly said he hoped Messi’s words were not “empty words,” before later clarifying those attributed quotes.

The 34-year-old was speaking at Poland’s welcome news conference at the team’s base in Doha as the team prepares to face Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Argentina in Group C.

But when asked about whether he would make a public show of shaking Messi’s hand when the two meet at the World Cup, Lewandowski asked the journalist to clarify his comments, saying: “I don’t understand the question.”

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Lewandowski followed up with “why would I need to shake hands? Between me and Messi I have nothing [bad] with him, I never had.”

The journalist responded with a clarification to the question, and Lewandowski responded: “Where and when [did I say] that? I do not remember I said it like that. Maybe you saw it on Instagram and someone thought I said it like that, but it was not me.”

Lewandowski is now at Messi’s former club Barcelona and when asked about the reminders of the Argentine great at Camp Nou, he replied: “Leo Messi is in great shape.

“At Barcelona you can see everywhere he’s a legend.”

Poland face Argentina in the final pool stage match on Nov. 30.