The recent Ballon d'Or gala remains the talk of the town, with Lionel Messi's 2021 victory coming as a controversial decision for many football fans and pundits.
Robert Lewandowski, who many critics argue was most deserving of this year's prize, ended up in second despite winning the European Golden Boot and outscoring every other rival in this calendar year. However, since the gala in Paris took place, the Polish striker remained mostly silent about his snub.
Until now, that is. Ahead of Wednesday's highly-anticipated UEFA Champions League showdown with Barcelona, the Bayern Munich striker sat down and spoke with Kanal Sportowy, admitting that he was left feeling sad at missing out on the 2021 gong.
"I felt sadness. I can't deny it," the Polish superstar said.
"I can't say I was happy, on the contrary. I have a feeling of sadness.
"To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach."
The most frustrating part about seeing Lewandowski miss out on the recent Ballon d'Or has to do with the 2020 edition. The former Dortmund ace, having won the treble with the Bavarians, was all but destined to lift the Golden Ball last year but was robbed of this opportunity after France Football opted to call off the award due to the COVID-19 outbreak – some of Europe's league were cancelled early due to the pandemic.
During his acceptance speech, Messi touched on this issue, calling on France Football to award Lewandowski his rightfully-earned 2020 Ballon d'Or. However, the Bundesliga sensation admits to being skeptical as to whether they will do this while also questioning the authenticity of La Pulga's statement.
"I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award," the Bayern ace added.
"I would like it [Messi's statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words."
Despite being left saddened, Lewandowski's 2021 Ballon d'Or miss has had no effect on his game so far. The striker returned to the pitch over the weekend in Der Klassiker and picked up right where he left off, scoring a brace to lead his team to a 3-2 victory over Dortmund.
Next up is an interesting European clash with Barcelona. The German giants have already won their group but look ready to field a strong lineup for the Allianz Arena affair.