Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski claimed that losing the Ballon d'Or 2021 to Lionel Messi was a big hit for him, saying he felt sad all week after coming so close to winning the prize.
On 29 November, Messi was crowned the Ballon d'Or winner for a record-extending seventh time. As one of the favorites, Lewandowski admitted that finishing second in the competition was a huge blow.
"The worst moment was the week when I found out about the results. I admit that I felt sad. I felt unsatisfied because I was close. When you compete with a footballer as great as Messi and you hear that you can win a prize, you know what level and stage of your career you are at," Lewandowski told local media on Sunday.
The Pole was the favorite to claim the award in 2020, but the organizers canceled the vote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after claiming this year's prize in Paris, Messi admitted on stage that Lewandowski deserved the Ballon d'Or for 2020.
"I hope these weren't just empty words," said Lewandowski. "Of course, I'm calm and focused on other things, but when you are so far and at the same time so close to the reward, emotions run high. I have a lot of respect for Messi and what he has achieved so I felt proud fighting for first place."
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On Saturday, Lewandowski led Bayern to a massive victory over his former side Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, as the forward scored twice in a 3-2 win.
"Each goal against Borussia is in some ways unique, because I spent four years there. And a lot of sentiment remains," the Polish attacker concluded.