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Ballon d'Or

'Sad' Lewandowski reacts to Messi Ballon d'Or win & hopes PSG star's speech was sincere

16:03 GMT 07/12/2021
Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich 2021-22
The prolific Bayern Munich striker is not expecting to be handed a Golden Ball for his efforts in 2020 despite having the support of an all-time great

Robert Lewandowski admits to having a “feeling of sadness” on the back of his latest Ballon d’Or snub, with the Bayern Munich striker hoping that seven-time winner Lionel Messi was “sincere” in calls for him to be retrospectively awarded a Golden Ball for 2020.

France Football opted against handing out a prestigious prize in a calendar year that was severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that in-form performers missed out on the chance to claim a much sought-after gong.

Prolific Poland international Lewandowski was a firm favourite to top any poll, but he was left frustrated and missed out once again in 2021 after seeing Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi add to his ever-growing collection of honours.

What has been said?

Lewandowski told Kanal Sportowy of finishing as runner-up in the latest Ballon d’Or vote: “I felt sadness. I can't deny it.

“I can't say I was happy, on the contrary. I have a feeling of sadness.

“To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.”

What did Messi have to say?

After being recognised as the best player on the planet for the seventh time in a remarkable career, Argentine icon Messi suggested that Lewandowski’s efforts in 2020 should be recognised.

He said in his acceptance speech: “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.

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

How did Lewandowski react?

Despite being backed by one of the finest players to have ever played the game, Lewandowski is not expecting to take a call from France Football any time soon despite questioning from plenty of others asking if he should have taken top spot once again.

Lewandowski added: “I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award.

“I would like it [Messi's statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words.”

Later on Tuesday, Lewandowski clarified his statement regarding Messi's praise, saying that he never meant to imply that PSG star's backing was insincere.

"My statement that I have made in an interview with a Polish TV station has been misinterpreted," the Bayern striker told kicker. "I never wanted to express that the words by Lionel Messi weren't sincere or honest.

"On the contrary, his words at this event in Paris, when he said that I deserved the Ballon d'Or for 2020 in his opinion, touched me deeply and made me happy. I just wanted to state that I would be very happy if Messi's words would lead to action.

"I respect Lionel Messi very much and I want to congratulate him once again for winning the Ballon d'Or 2021."

While the Ballon d’Or has eluded Lewandowski, he is in contention to defend his FIFA Best Award on January 22, 2022.

His efforts in the current campaign also suggest that he will be back to challenge for a Golden Ball in 12 months’ time, with 27 goals registered through just 21 appearances for Bayern this season.

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