Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has said Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski "would be my pick" for this year's Ballon d'Or following the Poland international's goal-filled performances for the Bundesliga champions.
Lewandowski looked to be the obvious choice for the 2020 honour after scoring an incredible 32 goals in just 26 Bundesliga matches over the calendar year and 55 goals in 47 competitive outings for Bayern. Those goals helped his team win the treble - only for the Ballon d'Or award to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But the evergreen Poland captain picked up where he left off, and was later named the Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year. He found the net 41 times in 34 Bundesliga matches in 2021 and last season broke Gerd Müller's single-season scoring record in the German top flight as Bayern cruised to a ninth successive domestic title.
Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland are the two Bundesliga representatives on the 30-strong shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. Although there are five City players among the nominees - including De Bruyne himself - the Belgium international attacking midfielder threw his support behind Bayern's goalscorer supreme.
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"If I had to choose myself personally, I'm going to look at a two-year period, because we didn't have anyone [last year]," said the former Wolfsburg man ahead of City's UEFA Champions League game against Club Brugge. "I'd choose Lewandowski for what he has done in the last two years - goalscoring wise, and also he's won a lot with Bayern. He would be my pick."
Lewandowski, who won the European Golden Shoe for his record-breaking 41 goals in 29 top-flight appearances in Germany last season, has never finished on the Ballon d'Or podium. The final positions are decided by votes from international media, with the winner announced on 29 November.
The former Borussia Dortmund forward did place fourth in 2015 - his best finish to date - but De Bruyne is not the only one who thinks Lewandowski could top the poll this time round.
Watch: Lewandowski won the European Golden Shoe prize
"He deserves the Ballon d'Or, and in my opinion he should win it, because he has played more consistently than anyone over the last three years," said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Nagelsmann also believes his 33-year-old striker - renowned for his fitness levels and professionalism - could continue for some time yet.
"If Robert Lewandowski's body stays like this, he's far from finished. He's extremely dynamic, has no injuries, and he can train a lot.
"I have real faith that he can play at the very top level for some years to come, also because he puts everything in place in his life to be in the best possible physical shape."