Robert Lewandowski insists the 2023 Ballon d'Or is already decided
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Robert Lewandowski thinks the race for the Ballon d'Or 2023 is pretty much down, over 10 months before the award will be handed out.
Lewandowski knows a thing or two about being a shoe in to be named the best player on earth, as he was in 2020 after Bayern Munich won the Champions League.
However, the Polish striker was left disappointed, with France Football deciding against awarding the title that year, due to the Covid affected season.
It seemed harsh at the time, and even Lionel Messi admitted the forward deserved the award, when he collected his seventh such title a year later.
Since then, France Football have changed the rules of the award, in part it was claimed it was to deny Messi the chance to win an eighth.
That's because one of the changes in rules was to make a player's legacy less important and make what happened on the pitch that year more essential, with it also going from calendar year to a seasonal award.
The latter change means that we're still quite some time away from deciding who wins in 2023 and the World Cup will be included in who wins it.
And of course, that makes Messi favourite to earn yet another Golden Ball, with Lewandowski claiming it's already decided.
"Of course," he told Mundo Deportivo when asked if the award already had a winner.
"There is maybe one more player that plays for the same club but there is only one World Cup that decides who is going to win it this season and Leo is now in the top position for sure because of what he has achieved that means everything to him.
"Now he can enjoy it."
It's no surprise that anyone thinks that Messi is going to win, having finally won the World Cup just over a week ago and scoring a brace in the final.
The Argentina star became the first in the tournament's history to score a goal in every round of the knockout stages and won the Golden Ball.
Lewandowski's belief the award is already won is similar to the claims by Thierry Henry at the end of last season's Champions League final, with the Frenchman awarding it to Karim Benzema at the time, who did go on to win the trophy.
An eighth award would extend Messi's lead over Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five, as the winner of the most Ballon d'Ors.
However, technically, France Football actually currently have the PSG star level with Pele, having previously claimed that 'international re-evaluation' means the Brazilian should also have seven.
Lewandowski did suggest that the only person who could stop Messi from winning the award next season is Kylian Mbappe, who top scored in Qatar and even scored a hat-trick in the final.
The Frenchman is surely in line to win one eventually but any achievement with his club team this year would also involve Messi, so he's unlikely to overtake the 35-year-old.
The pair could compete for FIFA's 'The Best' award next month, when the sport's governing body will decide who they believe has been the best in the world for the previous 12 months.
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina, Football World Cup, Ballon d'Or, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe