Thomas Muller believes Robert Lewandowski should have trumped Lionel Messi after the Argentina international claimed his seventh Ballon d’Or title.
Messi collected his record-extending seventh accolade after more success with Barcelona and Argentina, who ended a 28-year wait for a major trophy with their Copa America win, despite struggling at new club Paris-Saint Germain.
The 34-year-old has scored just once for PSG in seven Ligue 1 outings this term, while Lewandowski has netted 25 times in 20 appearances across all competitions this season for Bayern.
The Poland forward also registered 41 goals in just 29 league games for Die Roten last campaign to break Gerd Muller’s 49-year record in a single Bundesliga season, but only finished runner-up at Monday’s ceremony.
While coronavirus forced a cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or, which Lewandowski appeared favourite for, Muller feels his team-mate was deserving of the 2021 award as well.
“From a Bavarian, Polish and also from a German point of view, the presentation of the Ballon d’Or yesterday evening was definitely a disappointment,” Muller wrote in a post on his official LinkedIn profile.
“For some even a little more. Although I’ve been in the business for a bit longer and was therefore not really surprised at the outcome (it was similar with Franck Ribery in 2013), the whole thing formed or reinforced a thought in me: We have great players in the Bundesliga and we have to not hide us. However, further international successes are necessary for global recognition.
“This is also a huge motivation for me to put everything into the balance in order to bring the Champions League back to Munich and to show the football world what is going on. And above all, what German football has to offer.
“We have the next opportunity to do so next Wednesday in the Champions League game against Barcelona. Let’s tackle it!
“PS: With Lionel Messi, he is probably the best individualist football has ever produced. So congratulations to Lionel on winning the Ballon d’Or, even if I think that Robert Lewandowski would have deserved it more this time.”