Robert Lewandowski says he can never be compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of longevity but joked he is now the one sitting at football’s top table.
The prolific Bayern Munich striker was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2020 last week thanks to his sensational form over the past year for treble-winning Bayern.
Messi and Ronaldo had won the award in three of its four prior editions, though it was Poland international Lewandowski who claimed the top prize this time around.
In terms of wider honours, Messi has won six Ballons d’Or to Ronaldo’s five, the pair having gone head-to-head in a fierce battle to be the world’s best for more than a decade.
But Lewandowski feels he can now be considered in the same conversation as two of the game’s all-time greats on the basis of his goalscoring figures in recent years.
“Messi and Ronaldo have been sitting at the same table, at the top, for a very long time, and that’s what makes them incomparable,” he told France Football.
“So to answer your question, I can’t imagine myself next to them in this point of view.
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) December 19, 2020
“That said, if you take the numbers for this year and even previous ones, I think I’m pretty good in terms of performance and goals scored.
“Failing to be at the same table as Messi and Ronaldo, I think I can invite them to eat at mine!”
Lewandowski scored 60 club goals at a rate of one every 76 minutes between July 20, 2019 and October 7, 2020 – the period considered for this year’s FIFA Best award.
That tally, from 52 Bayern appearances, was 20 more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Juventus star Ronaldo was tied with Ciro Immobile on 40 goals, while Barcelona forward Messi (32) trailed Romelu Lukaku (37), Timo Werner (35) and Raheem Sterling (34).
Lewandowski has scored 17 goals in the first 13 Bundesliga matchdays this season, meanwhile, to equal the record set by Gerd Muller in 1968-69 and 1976-77.
And despite now being 32 years of age, he intends to continue evolving in order to maintain his high performance levels.
“I have a desire to progress and that’s even more important because I know that my time is limited,” he said.
“Obviously, progress is not instantaneous. When you repeat something every day, you can only measure its effect three or six months later, not the next day.
“The problem is, a lot of people want what you do in invisible work to be seen immediately. Patience is an important virtue, in football as in life.”