Robert Lewandowski has responded to Lionel Messi’s plea for France Football to retrospectively award the 2020 Ballon d’Or to the Bayern Munich striker.
After receiving the prestigious individual accolade for a record-breaking seventh time on November 29 in Paris, Messi addressed Lewandowski directly while on stage.
“Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or,” the legendary Argentine forward said. “Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award.
“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.”
Lewandowski received 580 points in the voting for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award, which was enough to earn him second spot ahead of Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho.
However, Messi’s tally of 613 points saw the Ballon d’Or go to Paris Saint-Germain’s No. 30.
Lewandowski congratulated Messi via Instagram after the awards ceremony but has admitted, one week after the event, that he feels sad after coming so close to being crowned the world’s best player for 2021.
Lewandowski 'sad' after losing Ballon d'Or race to Messi
"I felt sadness," Lewandowski told Polish outlet Kanale Sportowym, per Spanish outlet Marca. "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."
Lewandowski also hopes that Messi was being genuine when he suggested that France Football should give him the 2020 Ballon d’Or.
Lewandowski hopes Messi's words were 'sincere'
"I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award," the Poland international added.
"I would like it [Messi's 2020 Ballon d'Or statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just an empty words."
It sounds like Lewandowski hopes that Messi wasn’t merely trying to make him feel better after losing out on the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
The prolific centre-forward hopes Messi’s words came from the heart and that the South American genuinely believes he deserved last year’s Ballon d’Or award - because the comments meant so much coming from arguably the greatest footballer in history.
Will Lewandowski be awarded the 2020 Ballon d'Or?
Reacting to Messi’s plea last week, France Football editor-in-chief Pascal Ferré said: "What Messi said was nice and clever.
“I think we do not have to make very quick decisions.
“We can think about it and at the same time we should respect the history of the Ballon d'Or, which is based on voting.
"We can't be sure if Lewandowski would have won the Ballon d’Or last year.
“We can't know because there was no vote.
“But, to be honest, Lewandowski would have had a great chance of winning last year."
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