LIONEL MESSI won his seventh Ballon d’Or on Monday night – but he was nearly pipped to the post by Robert Lewandowski.
The Argentine legend, 34, once again took home the most-prestigious individual award 12 years after winning his first.
But many fans were left upset as Lewandowski, 33, was forced to settle for second.
The Bayern Munich star did win the inaugural Striker of the Year award – but missed out on his first-ever Ballon d’Or crown.
However, it turns out Lewandowski was agonisingly close to winning.
Messi took the trophy with a total voting score of 613 – just 33 points ahead of Lewandowski (180).
Jorginho came a close third too, after securing 460 voting points after helping guide Chelsea to the Champions League title and Italy to the Euro 2020 crown.
Karim Benzema finished fourth on 239 points, ahead of N’Golo Kante (186) in fifth.
Cristiano Ronaldo – now two Ballons d’Or behind arch-rival Messi – scored just 178.
The Manchester United ace beat Mohamed Salah – one of the favourites for the award – with the Liverpool star securing 121 points.
Kevin de Bruyne finished eighth with 73 points, ahead of Kylian Mbappe – who looked furious after coming ninth, his lowest-ever ranking – on 58.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – who won Goalkeeper of the Year – secured just 36 points.
For Lewandowski, the second place comes as a cruel blow after he was the runaway favourite for the 2020 crown before the coronavirus pandemic saw the ceremony cancelled.
And Messi paid tribute to him in his 2021 acceptance speech, saying: “I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski.
“It’s been a real honour to compete with you.
“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.”
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