Messi: Lewandowski deserves Ballon d'Or after 2020 miss

Lionel Messi has said he believes Robert Lewandowski should be retrospectively awarded the 2020 Ballon d'Or as he praised the Bayern Munich striker in his acceptance speech for the 2021 honour on Monday.

Messi was crowned the 2021 Ballon d'Or winner at a ceremony in Paris, claiming the trophy for the seventh time in his career.

But the Paris Saint-Germain star admits he had tough competition in the form of Lewandowski this year as he gave a special mention to the Poland international.

What has been said

"I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you," Messi said after collecting the 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."

Why has Lewandowski not won the Ballon d'Or?

Lewandowski was largely seen as the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or in 2020 because of his goal scoring exploits for Bundesliga champions Bayern.

But the award was cancelled that year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 33-year-old was one of the top candidates to win the award in 2021, too, but he was beaten by Messi.

Lewandowski collected 33 points fewer than Messi, putting him in second place and 120 points ahead of third-place challenger Jorginho.

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