Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or title, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski finishing second having been named the Striker of the Year
It was the Argentine superstar’s seventh Golden Ball, having previously won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019.
His win sparked debate among many about whether he was a deserving winner of the trophy, with Lewandowski enjoying a record-breaking season as Bayern won their ninth successive Bundesliga title.
But despite breaking the record for scoring the most goals in a German top-flight season with an astonishing 41 strikes, the Polish star did not win enough votes to win his first Ballon d’Or.
Instead, the title of the world’s best footballer once again goes to Messi, who enjoyed another fabulous season individually for Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina.
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He scored 38 goals and notched 14 assists for Barca last season as he dragged them to the Copa del Rey title and qualification for the Champions League.
The 34-year-old backed up that success with the Catalan giants by captaining Argentina to the Copa America title, the country’s first major international honour for 28 years.
Though he was forced to make a heart-breaking exit from the Nou Camp when he returned from that tournament, Messi has impressed for new club PSG.
He has scored three goals in the Champions League group stages to send the French giants to the knockout stages of the competition.
While he was very much a deserving winner, the Argentine took the opportunity to pay tribute to Lewandowski.
Messi insisted that had the Ballon d’Or been held as scheduled last year, rather than cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lewandowski would have been the unanimous choice to win it.
He also insisted that the organisers of the award, France Football, should hand Lewandowski the 2020 award in recognition of his achievements.
“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.
“Hopefully France Football will give you the 2020 Ballon d’Or. We all believe you deserved it and I hope you can have it at home.”
AFP via Getty Images)
Lewandowski was named the Striker of the Year, a small consolation for being pipped to the top title by Messi.
And the Poland international hailed his rival, as well as sending his congratulations to Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.
“Congratulations Leo Messi and Alexia Putellas winners of the Ballon d’Or 2021, congratulations also to all nominated players!” Lewandowski tweeted.
“I won Striker of the Year Award and no Player can win an individual award without strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support.”
Messi, meanwhile, he still had more things he wanted to achieve in his career, having won a record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or.
“I am very happy, really very happy, I really want to continue to fight and reach new objectives,” he said.
“I’m really proud to win the France Football Ballon d’Or once again. It’s incredible to win it for the seventh time.
“I would like to thank my family, my friends and all the people who follow me and always support me, because without them I couldn’t have done it.”
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