After winning the Ballon d'Or for the seventh time, Argentine and Paris Saint-Germain striker Lionel Messi said that Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski really deserved the accolade.
Messi was awarded the Ballon d'Or for the seventh time on Monday at a ceremony in Paris but he admitted that he had stiff competition from Lewandowski.
"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," Goal.com quoted Messi as saying.
"I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d'Or - you deserve it and you should have it at home," he added.
Lewandowski was viewed as the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or in 2020 because of his goal-scoring exploits. But the award was cancelled that year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I think Robert Lewandowski had a great year. Year after year, he improves and shows the excellent striker he is, as well as his ability to score goals," said Messi.
"This year he was awarded as the top scorer. Of course, he can certainly aspire to that level next year, thanks to his way of being on the pitch. And in addition, he plays for a big club," he added.
Lewandowski collected 33 points fewer than Messi, and he came in in second place for this year's Ballon d'Or.