Robert Lewandowski has hailed Lionel Messi as one of football’s greats, suggesting it could be another century before a player of his quality comes along again.
Lewandowski led Bayern Munich to a domestic and European treble last term, scoring a remarkable 55 goals across all competitions.
The 32-year-old has picked up where he left off this season, with 15 goals from 14 appearances ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with RB Leipzig.
Lewandowski scored one and set up another as Bayern trashed Messi’s Barcelona 8-2 en route to their Champions League triumph in August, a result which contributed to the Blaugrana’s talisman asking to leave Camp Nou.
Messi did not get his wish, however, and ultimately agreed to stay on and see out the final year of his contract.
With the Argentinian set to become a free agent at the end of the season, a number of Europe’s biggest clubs will be on high alert, and Lewandowski believes Messi is such a unique talent that it may well be another 100 years before another player of his ilk comes to the fore.
“He is a great player, one of the greatest in the history of football,” Lewandowski told Ole.
“I know that the expectations around him are enormous and what he has already achieved as a footballer is something that perhaps no one will achieve.
“Maybe you have to wait 100 years for someone like him to be born again. With what he has already done, he is and will be one of the greatest in all of history.”
With the Ballon d’Or not being awarded for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lewandowski has at least been nominated alongside Messi to be named The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi received the FIFA award last season and Lewandowski chuckled at the suggestion the 33-year-old should stand aside for somebody else.
“I know that he also wants to win it!” Lewandowski said. “It is logical. It’s our job.”
Lewandowski also paid tribute to Argentina great Diego Maradona, who passed away last month.
“A great sadness. The news was very ugly,” Lewandowski said. “That a player as fabulous as Maradona has left is very sad for all of football.
“We are all very sad but it happened, sadly. When he played, I was hardly born, but I know very well what he did in football and in the 1986 World Cup, how many great games he played.
“As a person it was the same as a player. He liked to have fun and enjoyed life both on and off the field.”