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Robert Lewandowski
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski is officially the world’s best player

Robert Lewandowski
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski is officially the world’s best player

For the better part of the last 20 years, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have been by far the world’s best soccer players, but after recent matches, it is clear that Robert Lewandowski has overtaken the two.

Lewandowski has been moving up the ranks the last few seasons and should have been awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2020. However, for the first time in the award’s history it was not awarded to any player due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That was outrageous and robbed the Bayern Munich striker of the award. Had Lewandowski won he would have become only the second player to win the award besides Messi and Ronaldo since 2008. The following year Lewandowski finished second and Messi, who won, said that Lewandowski should have been given the award for 2020 during his acceptance speech

The thought of Messi and Ronaldo starting to age has been something that no soccer fan wants to believe, but their age has slowly caught up to them and the magic that they both once possessed has gone away. Meanwhile, Lewandowski has found another gear this year for the German powerhouse scoring 42 goals in 35 matches across all competitions. This is much more than Messi (seven goals in 25 matches) and Ronaldo (15 goals in 31 matches). In fact, no player is remotely close to Lewandowski’s goal total this season with Ajax’s Sebastien Haller in second with 31 goals and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in third with 30 goals.

Lewandowski has led Bayern to another UEFA Champions League quarterfinal and has them sitting comfortably atop the Bundesliga. On the other hand, Messi has looked half of himself since moving to Paris Saint-Germain and Ronaldo has had a very up and down season for Manchester United.

The past week of matches has proved that we are near the end of the golden era of Messi and Ronaldo and Lewandowski’s takeover is here. Over the weekend of March 5th and 6th, PSG and Messi lost 1-0 against second-place Nice who are 13 points behind PSG, and Ronaldo was benched in the Manchester Derby which ended 4-1 in favor of Manchester City. The loss against Nice was the second loss in the last three Ligue 1 matches for PSG which should not be happening to a team with Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe. As far as Ronaldo’s benching goes, the only reason I can think of that one would bench their best player against their biggest opponent would be if there is a lack of faith in him. That would make sense in Ralf Rangnick’s case as Ronaldo has only scored once in all competitions since 2022 began and has looked a shell of himself from the first half of the season. 

This week also saw two days of Champions League action with Messi and Lewandowski playing and having extremely different outcomes. First, on Tuesday, Lewandowski and Bayern destroyed RB Salzburg 7-1. In that match, Lewandowski more than contributed to the victory by finishing with a hattrick after he scored three times in a span of 11 minutes in the first half. The three goals pushed Lewandowski into the lead for most goals in the Champions League this season with 12. 

The following day PSG played away to Real Madrid and the French side entered with a 1-0 advantage following the first leg. Messi was nonexistent in the game and that is very surprising since PSG led 1-0 in this match before collapsing and losing 3-1. This was a game that Messi was expected to show out after having played against Real Madrid twice a season since he joined Barcelona in 2004, but instead, it was Benzema who was outstanding getting a hattrick of his own to send the Parisians packing. This is the worst thing that could have happened for PSG as Messi was brought in to help them finally achieve their goal of winning the Champions League.

It is sad to see Messi and Ronaldo finally start to digress, but it is no surprise that Lewandowski is the one taking the reins as he has been a top-three player for the last couple of years. This could very well be the year that the Pole wins his first Ballon d’Or. In the near future, we will see Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah, and a few others become the faces of the sport as the world’s best players.

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