The Bayern Munich No.9 was named Striker of the Year at the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday night, taking home a new award – but it wasn’t the one that the Polish star had his heart set on
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However, it wasn’t quite what he wanted.
Lewandowski had made no secret of his belief that he should have won the Ballon d’Or in 2020.
But despite his heroics in firing Bayern to a glorious treble, the 33-year-old missed out last year.
The Poland captain was rewarded for his efforts with a first ever Champions League crown, as well as The Best FIFA Men’s Player award; but the award he really craved wasn’t forthcoming. “We’re still thinking about why,” he queried.
That hasn’t stopped him from, simply, getting better and better.
In 2021, 54 games have yielded 64 goals, as well as nine assists. He made Europe’s Golden Boot his own, while breaking Gerd Muller’s record for most Bundesliga goals in a single season.
“He’s been so incredibly consistent over the last three years like nobody else,” says his Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann.
“If I had to choose myself personally, I’m going to look at a two-year period, because we didn’t have anyone [last year],” declared Kevin de Bruyne ahead of this year’s ceremony.
“I’d choose Lewandowski for what he has done in the last two years – goalscoring wise, and also he’s won a lot with Bayern. He would be my pick.”
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When asked about his inclusion on this year’s shortlist, Lewandowski explained: “It’s a dream to be here and try to win this trophy, because I know how difficult it is.
“Also for a guy not from a big country – I mean a big footballing country with a great history – but I’m there.
“I have a good chance to win it, and I’m grateful that I can be up there. I think that my performances – also in 2020 – everything that we did, what I did with my teammates, is enough to be thinking about this.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Lewandowski looked on, in second place, as Messi took the main prize again.
“I think you deserved to win it last year Robert,” said Messi, who had sat alongside Lewandowski throughout the ceremony.
Instead, the Bayern hitman had to placate himself with a new award, handed to him for being the world’s Best Striker.
After taking to the stage in Paris on Monday night, Lewandowski declared: “I am very proud to be here.
“I am very proud of this trophy. I have to thank my teammates, coach and staff [for] the synergy between striker and team.”
But as Messi strode away for the seventh time with the Ballon d’Or, he could be forgiven for thinking, regardless of his shiny new trophy which felt rather like a consolation prize, that he had been overlooked once more.