The Argentina forward beat his Polish counterpart this year but wants retrospective action for his rival’s achievements
Lionel Messi emerged victorious at the Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony in Paris on Monday night – then told the organisers they should turn the clocks back and deal out the award they failed to last year.
A year ago, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was the heavy favourite to win, but the ongoing pandemic meant France Football opted not to hand out the title at all while they couldn’t hold the ceremony and football had been played behind closed doors for the most part.
Messi won his seventh title in the game’s biggest individual honour, with Lewandowski ultimately finishing runner-up this year – though he was the recipient of another award, with the newly created Striker of the Year going to the Poland international.
In his acceptance speech of the big prize, Messi had a word for the Bayern star and told the hosts should act now where they opted against 12 months back.
“I’d like to mention Robert, it’s been a real honour to compete with him,” Messi said.
“I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or, you deserved it.”
His thoughts were echoed by plenty on Twitter, with Gary Lineker among those in agreement. “Messi’s right. Give [Lewandowski] the award. Such an easy thing to do, and the right thing to do,” he wrote.
Lewandowski, for his part, offered his congratulations to Messi and Feminin winner Alexia Putellas for their successes in the Ballon d’Or prizes, while also thanking his team-mates and supporters for helping him triumph as top striker.