Rio Ferdinand believes Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski should start up a petition to ensure the Ballon d'Or is awarded this season.
France Football announced last month that they wouldn't be handing out the award this year due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ballon d'Or had previously been awarded every year since it was first founded in 1956 with Lionel Messi taking home the honour for a record sixth time in 2019.
While Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo loomed as strong candidates for the trophy this year, 2020 looked like it was going to be Lewandowski's year with the Polish striker proving unstoppable in front of goal.
The 31-year-old has scored 53 goals in all competitions so far this season for Bayern, with 13 of those coming in the Champions League, and Ferdinand is adamant Lewandowski deserves to be recognised for his efforts.
"If I’m Lewandowski and they have cancelled the Ballon d’Or, I’m starting up a petition to get it back on," Ferdinand told TEAMtalk.
"Aside from the year when Luka Modric won it, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated that award for the last 12 years and Lewandowski has taken himself to the next level this season.
"I can’t believe they have cancelled it. It’s cruel, that is a good word to describe it. Lewandowski deserves to win that award for what he has done this season and if he leads Bayern Munich to the Champions League and they still decide they won’t give it out to him, it’s not right.
"People say Ronaldo takes the award too seriously, but I’m not having that. What the award means to the history of the game, I think it’s a disgrace that they have taken it away for this year.
"Why can’t they give the award out, even if they don’t have a big ceremony to hand it over like they normally do? I think it’s really out of order.
"This is a big deal. You talk to Michael Owen and ask him what the best trophy was in his career and he might say it was the Ballon d’Or in 2001.
"To be on that list as the best player in the world is special. All these players want to be there. That’s the elite, the ultimate for a top player, and in this generation now there are two players who have dominated it for so long.
"That would have made it all the more special for Lewandowski to get his name on that list and I can’t believe they have taken it away from him."