Robert Lewandowski could become the first Pole to receive France Football magazine’s Golden Ball on Monday night in Paris. He was the front-runner, as early as 2020, but the poll was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, his biggest rival is Lionel Messi.
Only two Poles have ever finished in the top three of the France Football polls – in 1974 Kazimierz Deyna took third place, and in 1982 Zbigniew Boniek came third. Robert Lewandowski’s highest career finish was fourth, but it seems almost certain that either the Pole or Argentine Lionel Messi will reach for the Ballon d’Or this time.
After a superb 2020, Robert Lewandowski is still on strike in 2021 and played a key role in Germany’s bid for another league title
– France Football’s official website wrote.
Speculation has been rife for weeks about who will win the Golden Ball and by far the most common names are Lewandowski and Messi, although some also see Italian Jorginho or Frenchman Karim Benzema in the first place.
Messi was initially the bookmakers’ favourite but was later overtaken by Lewandowski. However, for some time there have been “leaks” from journalists from Portugal, Spain or Italy suggesting that the winner will be the famous Argentinian. On the other hand – e.g., mysterious Twitter entries of the UEFA vice-president and former president of the Polish Football Association Zbigniew Boniek could prove that it does not have to be true.
The fact is that the victor always finds out about his victory more than a week before. Among other things, it is about making time to interview him and do a photoshoot for “France Football”. Last year, the famous magazine cancelled the plebiscite due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The French Premier League, for example, was not completed at the time, which could have affected the results.
Such a decision of “France Football” was met with criticism, mainly among fans of Lewandowski’s talent, because the Pole – after winning all possible titles with Bayern – was a definite favourite. As a consolation, he was left with the title of World’s Best Footballer of 2020 in the FIFA poll, and before that he was named UEFA Footballer of the Year for the 2019/20 season.
This year, the battle for the win looks to be very tight. Lewandowski has excellent individual statistics, but it looks worse in terms of team success. Bayern won the national championship but fell quickly out of the German Cup, and in the Champions League – after a quarterfinal defeat in a two-legged tie with PSG (Lewandowski could not play in these meetings due to injury). With the Polish national team, despite scoring three goals, he took the last place in the group of this year’s European Championships.
“33-year-old Lewandowski has fewer trophies to put on the table than the Argentine (…) but his shooting instinct remains intact,” – EFE agency wrote.
In terms of individuality, no one can be compared to the Pole. In the calendar year, counting all games, he has already scored 64 goals.
The Golden Ball winner will be announced at Monday’s gala in Paris – kick-off at 8.30 pm.