The 2022 World Cup group stage draw set up a highly anticipated meeting between Argentina and Poland. The biggest storyline about that game had to do with Lionel Messi facing Robert Lewandowski following a controversial situation related to the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

Lewandowski’s statements bothered me because when I won the Ballon d’Or I said what I really felt, but for him to speak like that bothered me,” Messi told ESPN. “I ignored him during the game because it was him and I was angry and thought he shouldn’t have said what he said. I was very angry. If I was deliberately dribbling because it was him? Yes.”

Though Messi played with a chip on his shoulder throughout the entire World Cup, that day in particular he looked completely determined to win. But his competitiveness became even more clear whenever he had Lewandowski close to him.

Messi looked for the striker to dribble past him, refusing to shake Lewandowski’s hand when the Pole apologized for making a foul on him. But the pair eventually made amends, especially after Robert joined Leo’s former team.

After that we met, talked and agreed that it was a misunderstanding. He was upset because what he said didn’t fully match with what was on the internet. Then he went to Barcelona and we talked about many things about the club, the city and everything,” Messi added.

The reason Messi was angry at Lewandowski

Leo star got the upper hand over the Pole striker in the 2021 Ballon d’Or vote, but in his acceptance speech he said Lewy should’ve already won the award by then. Lewandowski had a fantastic year in 2020, when the prize was canceled due to the pandemic.

However, the former Bayern Munich superstar later made headlines for apparently doubting the sincerity behind Messi’s words in an interview with a Pole outlet. When the Spanish press translated his quotes, it seemed that Lewandowski said he hoped Messi’s comments were “sincere” and not just “empty words.”

The striker then claimed his words were taken out of context, and that he really appreciated what Messi said in the Ballon d’Or gala. However, that didn’t stop the Argentine star from getting angry at Lewandowski, and he showed that at Qatar 2022.

He (Lewandowski) can say whatever he wants. I’m not interested. By heart, I said that he deserved the Ballon d’Or before, because the year before, I thought he was the best, but he was not the best the year I won it,” Messi told TyC Sports before the World Cup.