The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who won the men’s Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time hailed Lewandowski in his acceptance speech, saying the Polish striker deserved to receive the 2020 award that was scrapped due to COVID-19.
“I want to tell Robert, that it is an honour for me to compete with him,” declared Messi after receiving his trophy.
“You deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year everyone agreed that you were the winner. I think France Football should give you your Ballon d’Or and you should have it as you deserved it.
“I hope France Football can give it to you so you can have it in your house because you were the just winner. You have to have it in your house.“
Lewandowski scored 55 goals during the 2019/20 season, 48 in 2020/2. He is currently 25 goals in all competitions this season. He was the favorite for the 2020 prize before it was canceled due to no football during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lewandowski was nominated for the award again this year after he broke late Bayern legend Gerd Muller‘s single-season Bundesliga goal record in May, scoring 41 league times last season, as well as winning the European Golden Shoe.
The 33-year-old amassed 580 points in the voting, finishing 33 points behind Messi.
Messi, 34, who left Barcelona as a free agent to sign for PSG, was presented with the award for best men’s footballer in the world on Monday night, November 29th, 2021, in a ceremony in Paris, making him the player with the highest Ballon d’Or, two more ahead of Manchester United‘s Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.
Story: Ihuoma Ukeje