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Lewandowski reacts to being snubbed by Messi in The Best voting, saying: I didn't do anything wrong that he can be mad at me

7:55 PM IST 18/01/22
Robert Lewandowski Lionel Messi 2021-22
The Polish striker took home the gong for a second straight year despite being left out of the Paris Saint-Germain star's top three

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has reacted to being snubbed by Lionel Messi in The Best FIFA award voting by claiming "I didn't do anything wrong that he can be mad at me".

Lewandowski picked up the Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year for the second successive year on Monday night, with Paris Saint-Germain talisman Messi having to settle for second and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah completing the top three.

The Poland international triumphed despite not receiving a vote from Messi, who won last year's Ballon d'Or ahead of the striker before suggesting that Lewandowski should have won the 2020 Golden Ball in his acceptance speech.

What's been said?

Lewandowski has admitted he was surprised not to make Messi's final three after those words of praise, and hopes the Argentine's decision was not fuelled by any personal issue.

When asked to address the contrast between Messi's comments at the Ballon d'Or ceremony and his voting choices for The Best prize, Lewandowski told a press conference: "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."

Lewandowski's top three

Messi was included in Lewandowski's top three, but only as a runner-up as he opted for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho as his preferred winner.

The Bayern forward felt that the Italian was more deserving of the accolade after a stellar 12 months that saw him win Champions League and European Championship honours, with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo coming in third on his ballot.

"I always look at attacking players but what Jorginho won means a lot. You always have to remain neutral," Lewandowski added on his choices. "He also scored important goals despite being a number six. The year, for him, was insane with Chelsea and Italy.

"There's no need to talk about Messi and Ronaldo. No matter where Ronaldo plays, he always shows his best quality. That's my explanation why I picked him third."

Lewandowski talks up The Best importance over Ballon d'Or

Lewandowski went on to suggest that The Best award holds greater weight than the Ballon d'Or due to the fact the result is decided by only votes from players and coaches.

Journalists have the final say on who wins the Ballon d'Or, and a man who scored 48 goals in 40 games across all competitions last season won't be too disappointed if he never manages to add one to his CV.

"The biggest question is what gold and silver are worth on the market," Lewandowski said when quizzed on the difference between the two awards. "Maybe in the current times gold is not as safe as silver or crypto. Every award has different rules. For me, it is always most important when the players and coaches vote.

"They know what it means to play at the top level. For me, that's worth more than when there are no players and coaches.

"Prizes with the team are the biggest. I'm mostly focused on those prizes."

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