Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he does not think Lionel Messi deserved to be announced as the winner of the 2021 Ballon d'Or.
The Argentine playmaker picked up his seventh Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday, pipping Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to football's most prestigious individual honour.
However, several players and pundits have since come out to claim that other players were more worthy of this year's award, with most calling for Lewandowski as their winner.
The Polish striker had been the favourite for the 2020 title before it was cancelled, with Messi calling for the Bayern man to be given the 2020 award in his acceptance speech.
Ibrahimovic is one of those to state that Lewandowski should have been the recipient of the Ballon d'Or this year.
In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Ibrahimovic responded to being asked about his relationship with Messi by saying: "A professional one. Leo lives for football.
"But Lewandowski deserved the Ballon d'Or this year."
Lewandowski has netted a staggering 64 goals in 54 matches for club and country in 2021 as well as winning a ninth Bundesliga title.
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This follows his impressive 2020, when he won the treble with Bayern on top of scoring 45 goals in 44 matches for Bayern and Poland.
Ibrahimovic's comments come after Toni Kroos argued against Messi winning the award, claiming his Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema was more deserving of the honour.
"It's absolutely not deserved," explained the German.
"There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano [Ronaldo], has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should've been others ahead of him.
"For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year, because I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is."
Benzema came fourth in the standings, behind runner-up Lewandowski and third placed Jorginho.
Lewandowski was also named the Striker of the Year at the ceremony, with the award handed out for the very first time.
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