Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d'Or on Monday, but he thinks runner-up Robert Lewandowski deserves some hardware himself.
Last season, France Football, the magazine that awards the Ballon d'Or, canceled the ceremony for the first time in its 64-year history, when Lewandowski was considered one of the favorites to win. In his victory speech Monday in Paris, Messi made sure everyone knew that the Polish star deserved the trophy.
"I want to tell Robert that it is an honor for me to be up against him," Messi said. "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 so you can have it like you deserve.
"Hopefully France Football can give it to you to have in your home, because you were the true winner if it weren't for the pandemic. You should have one in your house too."
In the 2020-21 season, Lewandowski broke Gerd Müller's single-season Bundesliga goalscoring record with 41 goals. This year, he also scored in 19 straight games for Bayern from February to September, continuing his prolific last two years.
While the Bayern Munich star missed out on the Ballon d'Or this season (580 points to Messi's 613), Lewandowski won the inaugural Striker of the Year award on Monday.
Meanwhile, Barcelona's Alexia Putellas won the women's Ballon d'Or, 19-year-old Barcelona midfielder Pedri won the Kopa Trophy for the world's best U-21 player and Gianluigi Donnarumma won the Yashin Trophy as the world's best goalkeeper.
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