| Last updated
Messi was crowned as the 2021 winner at a ceremony in Paris, winning the coveted award for an unprecedented seventh time.
The 34-year-old was the favourite going into the event after leading Argentina to a first international trophy since 1993 in the summer when they went all way in the Copa America.
Lewandowski finished second and was named 'Striker of the Year'.
Messi made sure to shout him out in his acceptance speech. In fact, the Paris Saint-Germain went as far as saying the Polish striker deserved to receive the 2020 award that was scrapped due to COVID-19.
He looked in pole position to win the award for the first time after hitting 55 goals as Bayern Munich won a treble, but had to settle for FIFA's Best Men's Player award.
"I’d like to mention Robert, it’s been a real honour to compete with him," Messi said on stage.
"I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or, you deserved it."
Messi wants to see Lewandowski get what he deserves 🏆 pic.twitter.com/jbvUCtQRrE— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 29, 2021
Lionel Messi wants a Ballon d'Or for Robert Lewandowski 🤝— GOAL (@goal) November 29, 2021
🗣 "I’d like to mention Robert, it’s been a real honour to compete with him. I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or, you deserved it.” pic.twitter.com/Zw2Qb57pJ1
Lewandowski was very vocal about feeling hard done by and former Spanish footballer Luis Suarez, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1960, had said prior to the event that he would give the former Borussia Dortmund man his gong if he didn't win this year.
The 33-year-old accrued 580 points in the voting, finishing 33 behind Messi.
He too showed his class by congratulating all of Monday night's winners on Twitter.
Congratulations Leo Messi and @alexiaputellas winners of the #BallonDor2021, congratulations also to all nominated players!👏 I won Striker of the Year Award and no Player can win an individual award without strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/I6j4BtluYS— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) November 29, 2021
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read