Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi's classy comments about Robert Lewandowski in 2021

Lionel Messi will not be winning the Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time in 2022.

After a fairly mediocre debut season at Paris Saint-Germain, the little genius was not one of the 30 official nominees for the latest edition of the award.

It’s the first time since 2005 that Messi is not in the running to scoop the individual accolade, which further highlights his insane consistency at the very highest level.

The 35-year-old won the Ballon d’Or for a seventh time last year after he guided Argentina to Copa America glory.

Robert Lewandowski was Messi’s closest competitor in the voting, but Barcelona‘s latest superstar signing fell agonisingly short by just 33 points.

If the Polish striker had won, no one could have complained. He scored goals for fun at Bayern Munich and should have been awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2020, when it was controversially put on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That was something Messi was keen to stress in his speech to the world after he was officially crowned the winner in Paris – and it really was a touch of class from him.

Video: Messi’s comments about Lewandowski after winning 2021 Ballon d’Or

Messi said back in November: “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.

Well said, Leo.

Lionel Messi after winning the 2021 Ballon d'Or
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 29: Lionel Messi receives his seventh Ballon D’Or award from Luis Suarez during the Ballon D’Or Ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet on November 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Lewandowski’s response to Messi

A few weeks after Messi collected the Ballon d’Or trophy, Lewandowski responded by saying he was touched by the speech from his rival at the ceremony.

“Messi’s words towards me [about the Ballon d’Or] really touched me,” Lewandowski told Bild. “They weren’t empty words, it was a nice moment in my career.

“I only spoke a few words with Leo [face to face], because my Spanish is not that good. I spoke with Kylian [Mbappe] in English, he then translated for Leo. It was a great night.”

On a bid to win the award in the future, Lewandowski added: “It’s about little details. Everything has to be in place. What I can guarantee is that I’ll continue doing my job and bring my best performances.”

Robert Lewandowski at the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 29: Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich) receives the Striker Trophy during the Ballon D’Or ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet on November 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Lewandowski is deservedly one of the 30 nominees for the 2022 Ballon d’Or and he’s certainly in with a chance of victory after yet another incredible season in 2021/22.

He bagged 48 goals in just 40 games, winning the Bundesliga title for the tenth time in the process.

But it’s likely Lewandowski will fall short once again, with Real Madrid‘s Karim Benzema the overwhelming favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or…

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