Following reports that Robert Lewandowski was critical of Lionel Messi's 2020 Ballon d'Or comments, the Bayern Munich star has now clarified his "empty words" response to the Argentine.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward won his seventh Ballon d'Or last week, with Lewandowski narrowly missing out on the prestigious award after finishing in second place.
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One of the ceremony's biggest talking points was the Argentine's plea for the Bundesliga striker to be given the 2020 Golden Ball title after organisers France Football decided to cancel the award last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Lewandowski has now clarified his initial response to Messi's speech, and insisted he was moved by the ex-FC Barcelona talisman's vote of confidence.
"[My comments] are being misinterpreted," the 33-year-old told Polish sports channel Kanale Sportowym.
"I never said that Messi's words weren't sincere.
"On the contrary, his speech at the ceremony in Paris, when he said that, in his opinion, I deserved the 2020 Ballon d'Or, moved me and truly made me happy.
"With my comments, I just wanted to say that, of course, I would be very happy if Messi's words were listened to.
"I respect and appreciate Lionel Messi beyond measure and, again, I congratulate him for winning the 2021 Ballon d'Or."
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