The 2022 World Cup group stage draw has set up a highly anticipated meeting between Argentina and Poland. The biggest story of the game had to do with Lionel Messi facing Robert Lewandowski after the 2021 Ballon d’Or controversy.
“Lewandowski’s statements bothered me because when I won the Ballon d’Or I said what I really felt, but it bothered me that he spoke like that,” Messi told ESPN. “I ignored him during the game because it was him and I was upset and I thought he shouldn’t have said what he said. I was very angry. If I dribbled on purpose because it was him? Yes.”
Although Messi has played with a chip on his shoulder throughout the World Cup, on that day in particular he looked absolutely determined to win. But his competitiveness was even more evident whenever he had Lewandowski near him.
Messi looked for a striker to dribble past and refused to shake Lewandowski’s hand when the Pole apologized for fouling him. But the couple eventually make up, especially after Robert joins Leo’s former team.
“Then we met, talked and agreed that it was a misunderstanding. He was upset because what he said didn’t quite match what was on the internet. Then he went to Barcelona and we talked about many things about the club, the city and everything,” added Messi.
The reason why Messi was angry with Lewandowski
The Leo star edged out the Pole in the 2021 Ballon d’Or voting, but he said in his acceptance speech that Lewy should have won the award by now. Lewandowski had a fantastic 2020 when the award was canceled due to the pandemic.
However, the former Bayern Munich superstar later made headlines as he apparently doubted the sincerity of Messi’s words in an interview with the Pole. When the Spanish press translated his quotes, Lewandowski appeared to say he hoped Messi’s comments were “sincere” and not just “empty words”.
The striker then claimed that his words were taken out of context and that he really appreciated what Messi said at the Ballon d’Or gala. However, that didn’t stop the Argentina star from being angry with Lewandowski and he showed it at Qatar 2022.
“He (Lewandowski) can say what he wants. I’m not interested. I said from memory that he deserved the Ballon d’Or before because the year before I thought he was the best, but he wasn’t the best the year I won it,” Messi told TyC Sports ahead of the World Cup.