Say and think what you want about the current credibility status of the Ballon d’Or, but you’d be hard pressed to find genuine football fans not in agreement that Bayern Munich and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski shouldn’t have won in it this year, or at least for 2020, retrospectively. Lionel Messi beat him to the honor, collecting his seventh Ballon d’Or, which didn’t go down well at all with Bundesliga fans.
It’s been just over three weeks since Lewandowski lost out to Messi, and in a recent video interview with Bild TV, the Polish ace talked about how he’s felt since then (Sport Bild). In the event that Lewandowski had won the Ballon d’Or, Gerd Müller’s wife, Uschi had planned on presenting the striker with the honor had there not been coronavirus restrictions, which would’ve been an incredibly touching and emotional moment. She had recently expressed her shock at Messi winning the honor over Lewandowski, saying that she “cannot understand” how he didn’t win. She also compared her husband to Lewandowski, saying that “Robert is the athlete for me, Gerd was the artist!”
Despite missing out on the Ballon d’Or, Lewandowski was just recently presented with the Sport Bild “Star of the Year” award by Uschi Müller, for which he was very grateful. “First of all, I would like to thank Uschi Müller for the very kind words. And equally for the award, which is a very great honor for me. I could not have won it without my colleagues. I see it as an award for the whole team, for the whole FC Bayern. I find Ms. Müller’s comparison interesting - it’s also apt! It’s mainly because of our bodies: I’m a different type of player than Gerd Müller. I’m taller, Gerd was much more muscular in the legs: one thigh of his had the circumference of two thighs of mine,” he explained.
The Ballon d’Or is just about the only piece of individual silverware that’s evaded Lewandowski, especially having been named the FIFA Men’s Best and UEFA’s best footballer of the year for 2020 on the heels of the 2019/20 treble winning season. Taking a few steps back, for what it’s worth, Lewandowski is more concerned with the overall team accomplishments at both Bayern and the Polish national team than he is with individual accolades. Admittedly, he said he was upset not to have won the Ballon d’Or, but said he was honored to be in a duel for it with Messi. “I’m very proud of our team and my achievements despite coming second in this vote. Looking back, I think to myself: it was a duel between Messi and me that the whole world was watching. To compete with this fantastic player for the title of best soccer player in the world is a great honor. On the other hand, I was sad, of course, I can say that openly: when you’re so close to this award and, moreover, the award ceremony in 2020 — the year we won all the titles! — has been canceled, it hurts. I was so close and yet so far away. I can say to myself: I tried everything, gave everything in my power - and I live very well with this feeling,” he said.
With virtually the last kick of the football of Bayern’s 2020/21 season, Lewandowski scored his 41st Bundesliga goal of the season, finally breaking Gerd Müller’s single season scoring record in the league. As it stands, he’s still 69 goals away from the Müller’s all-time Bundesliga scoring record of 365 goals. He recently said he doesn’t really think about that record all that much, but if he stays at Bayern for at least another two seasons, equaling or breaking that record is feasible.
Uschi Müller said she would not be angry or have any hard feelings if Lewandowski eventually broke the all-time Bundesliga scoring record. For Lewandowski, though, it’s just an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with Uschi’s late husband. “I was happy that Mrs. Müller wouldn’t be angry if I equaled her husband in a few categories or took records from Gerd. For me, it’s a great honor to be mentioned in the same breath as such a personality, such a player. But there are records you can’t break. Gerd Müller’s name will always be above mine,” he said.