Lionel Messi has opened up on a controversial moment with Robert Lewandowski at the 2022 World Cup.
Messi spearheaded Argentina’s march to the title in Qatar, as they topped Group C, ahead of Lewandowski’s Poland, who finished in second.
The 2-0 group stage win over Poland was one of Messi’s quieter games in the tournament as La Albiceleste sealed spot in the last 16 against Australia.
However, one of the most infamous images from the game was Messi appearing to reject Lewandowski’s offer of a mid-game handshake and a cold stance towards the Barcelona forward in the game.
Messi has since explained the friction was caused by comments made between the pair over the 2020 Ballon d’Or award which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Upon ‘retaining’ the award between 2019 and 2021, Messi stated in his acceptance speech that Lewandowski deserved the 2020 trophy for his form at Bayern Munich.
However, Lewandowski bit back by criticising Messi for not voting for him in the 2020 FIFA The Best Awards, and Messi was irked by his actions.
“The statements Lewandowski made bothered me. When I won the Ballon d’Or in 2021, I meant what I said about him”, as per an interview with ESPN.
“And for him to speak the way he did, it bothered me. I was upset.
“I was annoyed and that’s why I kept dribbling at him in the World Cup. But, we have spoken about it since, and it is resolved.”