'They Weren't Empty Words': Robert Lewandowski Makes U-Turn Over His Criticism of Lionel Messi

© REUTERS / CHRISTOF STACHESoccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayern Munich v FC Augsburg - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - May 22, 2021 Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their fifth goal Pool via REUTERS/Christof Stache DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video
Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayern Munich v FC Augsburg - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - May 22, 2021 Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their fifth goal Pool via REUTERS/Christof Stache DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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Lionel Messi may have won an unprecedented seventh Ballon d'Or trophy last month, but his triumph led to severe criticism of France Football, the parent organisation of the award, as well as the Argentine player. Some football fans claimed that Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski had been "robbed" of the honour.
Polish captain Robert Lewandowski has walked back his criticism of ex-Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi after the Ballon d'Or ceremony in which he claimed that the 34-year-old footballer's praise of him was shallow and lacked honesty.
Lewandowski, who lost the race to Messi for the game's biggest individual prize by just 33 votes, clarified that he had never questioned the intentions of the legendary footballer.
The Warsaw-born player insisted that he was misinterpreted in an earlier interview and Messi's words, in fact, "really touched" him.

"Messi's words towards me (about the Ballon d'Or) really touched me", Lewandowski told the German outlet Bild. "They weren't empty words, it was a nice moment in my career".

"I only spoke a few words with Leo [one-on-one], because my Spanish is not that good. I spoke with Kylian [Mbappe] in English, he then translated for Leo. It was a great night", he added.
Earlier this month, Lewandowski declared that he was "sad" at not being able to end his Ballon d'Or drought before taking a dig at Messi. The Bayern number nine accused Messi of not being sincere in praising him.

"I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award", Lewandowski told Polish publication Kanale Sportowym. "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 empty words", he continued.

The whole misunderstanding between Messi and Lewandowski began after the Argentina skipper hailed him for his spectacular run of form in the last few years during the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris on 29 November.
Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski with the Striker of the Year Trophy - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.12.2021
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Messi even highlighted Lewandowski's record numbers for Bayern during the 2020-21 season.
Lewandowski was widely tipped to claim his maiden Ballon d'Or honour in 2020, but lost out on the prize as the event was cancelled due to the raging coronavirus pandemic all over the world.
"I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it's been a real honour to compete with you", Messi had said after receiving the 2021 Ballon d'Or trophy.
Messi said that the Pole was unlucky not to win the award in 2020 and urged France Football to award him his Ballon d'Or trophy because he truly deserved the prize.
"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", the Argentine player concluded.
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