The 2020 Ballon d'Or award will not be handed out in 2020 due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, France Football, the organizers for the award, announced on Monday. The trophy was formed in 1956, and this marks the first time in the 64-year history that the award will not be handed out.
However, that shouldn't stop us from looking at who should have taken home the coveted prize. My honorable mentions include Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) and Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), but here are the top three and the clear-cut deserved winner:
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus
Ronaldo, who is in his second season at Juve, has already surpassed his numbers from his first season, with 28 goals in 29 games, which leads all Serie A players. He has looked like his old self, but has had a poor Champions League by his lofty standards with just two goals in seven games. He's been the key to Juve's success in the Italian league and is expected to make a big impact against Lyon in the Champions League round of 16 second leg in a few weeks. His goal numbers still aren't at the level we saw at Real Madrid, but this is a 35-year-old star who might push 40 goals again in a season.
2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona
It's been a down season for Barcelona, but that hasn't been the case for Messi. The Argentine superstar was La Liga's top scorer for the seventh time with 25 goals, but more impressive was setting the single-season assist record in La Liga with 21, passing former teammate Xavi. Messi did it all for Barca in helping them stay in the title fight, ultimately losing out on the league crown to Real Madrid. Overall on the season, Messi has 30 goals in 42 games and reached 700 goals in June.
1. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
Let's be clear here: Lewandowski would have been my runaway winner for the award. Truthfully, it wasn't even close. While Messi and Ronaldo have the name and stature, this season the Polish striker has had the game. The 31-year-old matador has 51 goals this season and could add to that tally in August with the Champions League. He had a Bundesliga-high 34 goals as Bayern won the crown, he had six in the German Cup which Bayern won and is the UCL's top scorer with 11. His 51 goals are eight more than his previous best of 43 in 2016-17. The best, most in-form striker in the world for a while now.
Lewandowski has never won the Ballon d'Or award, and it's a shame the French publication chose not to hand out its prestigious award this season because the Bayern Munich star would have been a worthy winner.