Rio Ferdinand thinks this year’s Ballon d’Or being canceled is ‘cruel’ on Robert Lewandowski – who has had his chance at winning the award ‘taken away from him.’
The Bayern Munich striker has been one of the world’s deadliest strikers this season and has scored 53 goals in 44 games this season.
Speaking exclusively to SPORTbible to promote the Champions League’s return on BT Sport, Ferdinand said he thinks the 31-year-old has played at an elite level in 2020.
“I think on form, he’s the best player in the world at the moment,” the former Manchester United defender stated.
“I think he was the main candidate to win it. I fell quite gutted for him really that he’s not got it, I think he’ll be sick.
“It seems quite a cruel thing to do I believe. I think Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have had their hands on it for so long, Luka Modric came in and had a year.
“I think Lewandowski has been one of the players just under Messi and Ronaldo in terms of quality, that next band of players that have been waiting.
“He’s had the chance to do it, he gets there, then they take it away from him.”
France Football announced the 2020 Ballon d’Or’s cancellation last month, citing the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption of the football season as a cause.
Meanwhile, Bayern faces Barcelona in the Champions League on Friday night with a semi-final spot against one of Manchester City or Lyon waiting.
Ferdinand thinks Lewandowski is the key to Hansi Flick’s side winning the whole competition.
“I think Bayern Munich are the favourites,” the 41-year-old replied.
“The man we were just speaking about, Lewandowski, just him alone scoring as many goals as he has.
“He played a part in every goal in the last round [a 7-1 aggregate win over Chelsea], so I think he is the difference maker in that team and I think he’ll be the difference for Bayern going forward.
“I think as a team, the depth they have in their squad, they’re in form, they are the team to beat.”
The remainder of this season’s competition will be over a single leg, rather than traditional two-legged ties.
Ferdinand, who won the Champions League with United in 2008, admitted he preferred two-legged ties as a player.
“I enjoyed the two-legged ties because especially when you were the bigger team, you had a better chance thanks to the depth of your squad, experience, etc.
“This is a leveler, playing over one leg it becomes a little bit like the FA Cup, when we know any team can beat any team.
“I think the likes of Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Lyon will be sitting there thinking ‘we’ve got more chance now than we did over two legs.'”