Robert Lewandowski has clarified that Lionel Messi's speech at the Ballon d'Or ceremony "really touched" him.
Messi acknowledged that Lewandowski should have at least one Ballon d'Or to his name at this point in his career, given his on-field excellence with Bayern Munich.
And following an interview in which Lewandowski says he was misinterpreted as questioning Messi's intentions, the Polish forward clarified "they weren't empty words" from the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.
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What has been said?
"Messi's words towards me [about the Ballon d'Or] really touched me," Lewandowski told Bild. "They weren't empty words, it was a nice moment in my career.
"I only spoke a few words with Leo [face to face], because my Spanish is not that good. I spoke with Kylian [Mbappe] in English, he then translated for Leo. It was a great night."
On what it would take to win the Ballon d'Or in the future, Lewandowski added: "It's about little details, everything has to be in place. What I can guarantee is that I'll continue doing my job and bring my best performances."
What did Messi say about Lewandowski?
"I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you," Messi said after collecting the 2021 Ballon d'Or trophy.
"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 deserve it and you should have it at home."
He added: "I think Robert Lewandowski had a great year. Year after year, he improves and shows the excellent striker he is, as well as his ability to score goals.
"This year he was awarded as the top scorer. Of course he can certainly aspire to that level next year, thanks to his way of being on the pitch. And in addition, he plays for a big club."
Lewandowski's record-breaking year
The former Dortmund striker has enjoyed an incredible 2021, with his goal in Bayern's 4-0 win over Wolfsburg on December 17 ensuring he would end the calendar year with 69 goals to his name.
By scoring in that game, Lewandowski also set a Bundesliga record as he notched his 43rd strike in the competition in 2021, in what was his 34th match of the year.
That saw him overtake Germany legend Gerd Muller, who had held that particular record for 49 years.
Indeed, it's the second record that Lewandowski has taken from Muller this year, with the Pole having scored 41 Bundesliga goals in the 2020-21 season, beating the Bayern legend's mark from 1971-72.