Football News

“You deserve it” – Lionel Messi calls for Robert Lewandowski to be awarded 2020 Ballon d’Or retrospectively

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:35, 29 November 2021

Lionel Messi has called for France Football to award Robert Lewandowski the 2020 Ballon d’Or retrospectively.

The Argentinian superstar took the 2021 Ballon d’Or ahead of Lewandowski with 613 points to the Polish striker’s 580, while Chelsea midfielder Jorginho finished in third with 460 points.

Messi went into the night as the Ballon d’Or’s most successful player but extended his lead over Cristiano Ronaldo to two trophies, now with seven to the Portuguese’s five. The Argentinian superstar was among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or this year but it wasn’t a certainty thanks to Lewandowski’s form for Bayern Munich in the 2020/21 season.

Despite Barcelona’s troubles on and off the pitch last season, Messi ended the 2020/21 campaign with 30 goals and nine assists while also leading La Liga in metrics such as chance creation, Big Chance creation and dribbling. But the clincher for Messi came in the summer as he led Argentina to Copa America.

Messi was once again the star for his nation, scoring four goals to win the tournament’s Golden Boot while a further five assists went some way in sealing the Player of the Tournament. The win ended Argentina’s 28-year wait for a major trophy after previously winning the Copa America in 1993, but also gave Messi his first senior international success – something that had been used to against claims for him to be the best ever.

However, Messi’s win did not go down well with everyone. For many, Lewandowski should have won the 2021 Ballon d’Or for his fantastic form in 2021, while also missing out on the award in 2020 when he was clear favourite to win.

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Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Ballon d’Or was cancelled, and Lewandowski had to make do with just winning The Best FIFA Men’s player for the year. But, while accepting his award on Monday night, Messi started calls for Lewandowski to retrospectively get the 2020 Ballon d’Or.

“I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you. Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year,” Messi said.

“I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or – you deserve it and you should have it at home.”

Messi’s sentiments were echoed by those on Twitter, including former Barcelona and England striker Gary Lineker.

“I think last year’s 2020 Ballon d’Or should be retrospectively given to [Lewandowski],” he tweeted.

“He deserved to win it. He deserves to have one.”

They weren’t alone either and some fans even started a petition for it to happen…

In 2020, Lewandowski was directly involved in 51 goals in 35 games for Bayern Munich in the league and Champions League, helping his club with the Treble. The Polish striker scored 40 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues, while his 11 assists saw him keeping close to the likes of Jordi Alba, Dries Mertens and Kingsley Coman.

He has been even better in 2021, scoring 49 times in 37 league and Champions League games so far this year, again more than any other player in one of Europe’s top five leagues. But while the gap in 2020 for goals scored between Lewandowski and second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo was just one, the gulf in clash has truly shown in 2021 with Karim Benzema closest but still a massive 16 back.

The year also saw Lewandowski break the late Gerd Muller’s long-standing record of 40 goals in a single German top-flight campaign, netting 41 in the 2020/21 Bundesliga. He was rewarded in some respect for his form for club and country, netting 64 times in total, being named first recipient of the Striker of the Year award. But should he also be given the 2020 Ballon d’Or?