Lionel Messi admits he tried to 'humiliate' Robert Lewandowski on purpose during game
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Lionel Messi has admitted he attempted to humiliate Robert Lewandowski when they met at the World Cup.
Messi was named the 2021 Ballon d'Or winner ahead of Lewandowski, a decision many disagreed with.
The 36-year-old said Lewandowski deserved to win the Ballon d'Or the previous year, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lewandowski later argued Messi's claims on the stage in Paris were insincere. However, he believes his comments were taken out of context.
Messi and Lewandowski's feud continued in 2022. Lewandowski won FIFA's 'The Best' award, although Messi refused to vote for him.
The duo then faced off at the World Cup in Qatar as Argentina took on Poland in Group C.
Messi targeted Lewandowski throughout, even dribbling at the Barcelona striker midway through the second half.
After Lewandowski managed to get the ball off Messi, he attempted to reconcile with the Inter Miami superstar.
In an out-of-character move, Messi appeared to completely blank his fellow pro.
Messi finally addressed the incident in a new interview with ESPN and how it all unfolded from his point of view.
He explained: "Lewandowski's statement in 2021 bothered me because when I won the Ballon d'Or I said what I really felt.
"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. Was I deliberately dribbling because it was him? Yes."
Both men have now reconciled and Messi speaks to Lewandowski about his life in La Liga.
Lewandowski sealed a move to the Catalan giants from Bayern Munich last year to fulfil a boyhood dream.
Messi added: "After that, we met and talked and agreed that it was a misunderstanding. He was upset because what he said didn't match what was reported.
"Then he went to Barcelona and we talked about many things about the club, the city and everything."
Before deciding to move to the MLS, Messi was linked with a return to Barcelona.
Former teammate Sergio Aguero recently claimed it's a 'matter of time' until Messi ends up back at the Camp Nou.