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R. Lewandowski

Lewandowski doesn't need Ballon d'Or to prove he's the world's best player

13:40 GMT 03/12/2021
Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich
The Bayern Munich striker finished behind Lionel Messi in the France Football vote but nobody has been playing with greater consistency than the Pole

Robert Lewandowski should be a Ballon d'Or winner. There is no doubt about that.

There may be legitimate arguments over whether he should have been forced to settle for second place behind Lionel Messi this year.

But nobody can deny that he deserved to lift the award in 2020, when organisers France Football decided to cancel the vote due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even Messi admitted that the Bayern Munich No.9 was the best player in the world last year.

"Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award," Messi said after claiming his seventh trophy on Monday night in Paris.

Lewandowski won the Champions League and Bundesliga in 2020, but has arguably been in even better form this year.

Despite winning the Bundesliga again, with Lewandowski in record-breaking form, Bayern could not go as far in Europe, where the absence of their star striker through injury was apparent as Paris Saint-Germain knocked them out of the Champions League despite the Bavarians creating many more chances over two legs.

Internationally, too, Lewandowski's performances with Poland have been impressive, with the centre-forward scoring 11 times in 12 games in the past 12 months, including three in three at Euro 2020.

Poland were never realistically expected to compete for the European Championship and Lewandowski did as much as he could for his country, including securing a place in the World Cup play-offs as they finished behind England in qualifying.

Being overlooked for the Ballon d'Or in 2021 will not cause the 33-year-old any sleepless nights, though, with legendary Bayern Munich midfielder Lothar Matthaus saying he has already moved on to his next target: Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern travel to Signal Iduna Park on Saturday for Der Klassiker and a win for the visitors would move them four points clear of their title rivals.

"Lewandowski is always motivated. I'm sure he's not happy with the result in Paris. But he's very professional," Matthaus said.

"I have never seen someone more professional than Robert Lewandowski. He will not think on Saturday about the Ballon d'Or. He will think about his team, his club, to play a good game against Dortmund, score goals and win three points."

Lewandowski leads the goalscoring charts in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League again this season, which marks him out as an early contender for next year's Ballon d'Or.

Win both of those again and it could be hard for next year's voters to look elsewhere, even with a World Cup on the horizon.

International success with Poland is all but impossible despite the goals he provides, leaving Matthaus at a loss about what more Lewandowski could do to be named the world's best player.

"Lewandowski was playing at the highest level in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League, as top scorer, playing great games, breaking records," Matthaus said.

"But the journalists who make the decision decided on Messi and for that we have to congratulate Messi. But for me, Robert Lewandowski was the best player in 2021."

All Lewandowski can do is keep scoring goals to keep himself in the conversation for the 2022 Ballon d'Or.

His former team-mate Jerome Boateng agrees, believing that Lewandowski will now want to score even more goals.

"It won't knock him down, but it has certainly been a big disappointment for him. But the way I got to know him, it will only motivate him further," Boateng told GOAL.

"He will continue to attack, I am sure of that. His statistics alone in the season so far are unbelievable."

Lewandowski will simply move on to the next victim and the next record.

A goal against Borussia Dortmund would equal Klaus Fischer's record of 117 away goals in the Bundesliga.

They're also the team he has scored most often against, with 24 goals against his former club in all competitions.

He doesn't need a trophy to prove he is the world's best player.

He just needs to keep scoring – starting with Saturday's game against Dortmund.