Robert Lewandowski has publicly responded to not being included in Lionel Messi’s top three votes at The Best Awards, despite the Argentine recently declaring he should have been retrospectively awarded the 2020 Ballon d’Or.
The Bayern Munich forward retained his crown as The Best FIFA Men’s Player on Monday night, fending off competition from Messi and Mohamed Salah for the annual gong at the Zurich ceremony.
The award is determined by a selection of journalists, national team coaches and national team captains, meaning Messi and Lewandowski both had the opportunity to cast their votes as the skippers of Argentina and Poland respectively.
FIFA released a detailed list of how the voting transpired, giving fans the opportunity to see which boxes some of football’s biggest names ticked. Lewandowski went with Jorginho as his first pick, while Messi came in at No. 2 and Cristiano Ronaldo completed his top three.
However, the sentiment was not shared, as Messi selected PSG teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as his first and second choices respectively, while an old footballing foe even came in ahead of Lewandowski, as the former Barcelona forward picked Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema at No. 3.
Many felt Lewandowski deserved to be awarded the 2021 Ballon d’Or, which ultimately went to Messi, but the Parisian forward declared in his speech that he felt his rival for football’s most-coveted award should have been handed the 2020 edition, which was ultimately scrapped.
After receiving his award, Messi said: “I’d like to mention Robert, it’s been a real honour to compete with him. 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 deserved it.”
Lewandowski has now reacted to Messi’s snub at The Best Awards, despite the Argentine’s eulogy only a few months back.
He said: “Those were very nice words from him. Now regarding his choice: the question has to be asked of him. I didn’t do anything wrong that he can be mad at me – except sporting things.
“Privately, I hope everything was okay. That was his choice, I have to respect that. I don’t have to say anything negative or be mad.”