Robert Lewandowski Lionel Messi Bayern PSG 2021-22Getty/GOAL

Muller says Lewandowski should've won Ballon d'Or ahead of Messi & Salah deserved 'Best XI' recognition

Thomas Muller believes Robert Lewandowski was a more worthy winner of the 2021 Ballon d'Or than Lionel Messi, while also expressing his surprise that there was no room in the Best XI for Mohamed Salah.

Lewandowski enjoyed an exceptional season for Bayern Munich in 2020-21, scoring an incredible 41 Bundesliga goals in just 29 games and 48 in all competitions to lead them once more to the league crown.

But he lost out in voting to Messi, who finally broke his international trophy drought by lifting the Copa America with Argentina - although he did receive FIFA's The Best prize over the Paris Saint-Germain star in January.

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What was said?

"We know that it's decided by journalists' votes, and the winner, if everything goes well, is based on who gets the highest number of votes, and that's why Messi won," Muller told MBC Masr when asked about the decision to overlook his Bayern colleague.

"But in Munich we have a different opinion because we see Robert Lewandowski score & play everyday, and in Egypt it's normal that many see [Mohamed] Salah worthy of the prize, I can understand that because everyone wants that player who represent their team or country to win, the same for South American fans and journalists who saw Messi in the Copa America.

"It's always difficult, everyone has their own favourite player, but individual prizes aren't the most important thing in football, what happens on the field is."

Salah snubbed

The Best FIFA vote also threw up a curious selection anomaly concerning Liverpool and Egypt ace Salah.

Salah was awarded third place behind Messi and Lewandowski in the main vote, but was then conspicuously absent from the Best XI which named the supposed team of the year in world football.

Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2021-22Getty Images

"It's always hard to make the selection, everyone has an opinion, Mo Salah right now is producing outstanding performances and earning the respect of everyone around the world given what he produces," Muller continued.

"It can be disappointing not being picked in the Best XI, but maybe because last summer there was the Euros, and Europe has a big impact on football, Italy has won and this automatically means the presence of multiple Italians in the line-up.

"It's a mix between individual performances & team effort, there's 20 players who deserve the prize but only 4 or 5 make the final cut, but of course, Mo Salah deserves to be there."

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