Robert Lewandowski has suggested his performance levels in recent years stand up to scrutiny with regard to the efforts of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barcelona great Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo have dominated the conversation with regard to the best player on the planet for over a decade, with the pair having 11 Ballons d’Or between them - six for Messi and five for Ronaldo.
The award was not given out this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic, but there was a case to be made for the pair having been eclipsed by Lewandowski.
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The Poland international won the Bundesliga and Champions League with Bayern Munich, with his goals being key to the German side’s success in both competitions.
Lewandowski brushed off talk of comparisons between himself and the two greats of the game, but conceded his numbers stack up.
“Messi and Ronaldo have been sitting at the same table, at the top, for a very long time, and that's what makes them incomparable,” Lewandowski told France Football. “So to answer your question, I can't imagine myself next to them in this point of view.
“That said, if you take the numbers for this year and even previous ones, I think I'm pretty good in terms of performance and goals scored.
“Failing to be at the same table as Messi and Ronaldo, I think I can invite them to eat at mine!”
At 32 years of age, Lewandowski’s best years are probably behind him but he talks about constantly learning in a bid to evolve his game.
“I have a desire to progress and that's even more important because I know that my time is limited,” he said. “Obviously, progress is not instantaneous.
“When you repeat something every day, you can only measure its effect three or six months later, not the next day. The problem is, a lot of people want what you do in invisible work to be seen immediately.
“Patience is an important virtue, in football as in life.”
Former Borussia Dortmund man Lewandowski will head into the Christmas and New Year break with his side top of the Bundesliga and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, so he could well be challenging for top honours again in 2021.