After being denied the title in 2020 and finishing second in the poll this year, the Paris Saint-Germain star lauded the Poland international.
At a ceremony in Paris, Messi was named the 2021 Ballon d'Or winner, earning the award for the seventh time in his career.
However, the Paris Saint-Germain star concedes he had difficult competition in the form of Lewandowski this year, praising the Poland international in particular.
"I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you," Messi said after collecting the trophy.
“Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year.
“I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or - you deserve it and you should have it at home."
He added: "I think Robert Lewandowski had a great year. Year after year, he improves and shows the excellent striker he is, as well as his ability to score goals.
"This year he was awarded as the top scorer. Of course he can certainly aspire to that level next year, thanks to his way of being on the pitch. And in addition, he plays for a big club."
Why hasn't Lewandowski been awarded the Ballon d'Or yet?
Because of his goal-scoring exploits for Bundesliga champions Bayern, Lewandowski was widely seen as the favorite to win the Ballon d'Or in 2020.
However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the prize was canceled that year.
The 33-year-old was also a strong contender for the trophy in 2021, but he was defeated by Messi.
Lewandowski finished second, 120 points ahead of third-place opponent Jorginho, with 33 points fewer than Messi.
Content created and supplied by: Daily_Sports_News (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More