Despite being informed that he would not be the player to receive the FIFA “best” award given to the best player in the world, Lionel Messi attended, via video call, the ceremony held in Zurich on Monday.
As a gesture of respect to Robert Lewandowski – who received the award – Messi called from his iPad and spent nearly an hour watching the ceremony.
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“I want to tell Robert (Lewandowski) that it is an honor to compete with him,” Messi said upon receiving the Ballon d’Or last November.
“You deserved the Ballon d’Or last year, everyone agreed that you are the winner. I think that France Football should give you the Ballon d’Or and (you should) get it as you deserve it.”
“I hope France Football will give you this award so that you can be at home, because you were the deserved winner,” he concluded.
Lewandowski won the award for the best player in the world twice in 2020 and 2021, while Messi won it once (2019), and Cristiano Ronaldo won it twice, in 2016 and 2017.