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Why Robert Lewandowski is BT Sport's honorary Ballon d'Or winner for 2020 as the prolific Pole looks to fire Bayern Munich to Champions League glory and a historic treble
Watch Robert Lewandowski's Bayern Munich side take on PSG in the final of the 2019/20 Champions League - live and exclusive on BT Sport 1 from 7pm on Sunday
When future generations look down the list of Ballon d'Or winners, 2020 will be left blank, but there should really be an asterix.
In late July, France Football magazine announced that the famous Golden Ball trophy will not be handed out this season due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions”.
For the first time since 1956, there will be no recipient of the most prestigious individual prize after the coronavirus pandemic brought football across Europe to a standstill, but Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski has a right to feel hard done by.
The Pole's best finish to date was his fourth place in 2015, when he came home behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Since 2008, only Croatia's Luka Modric has managed to wrest the accolade from the grasps of Messi and Ronaldo - in a year that he won the Champions League and finished as runner-up at the World Cup.
At 32, Lewandowski is in the form of his life as Bayern prepare to meet PSG in the final of the Champions League - live on BT Sport 1HD and BT Sport Ultimate from 7pm on Sunday night.
The greatest stages require the greatest players, and there have been none more impressive than Lewandowski in the last 12 months.
“If I’m Lewandowski and they have cancelled the Ballon d’Or, I’m starting up a petition to get it back on,” BT Sport analyst Rio Ferdinand told football website TEAMtalk.
“Aside from the year when Luka Modric won it, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated that award for the last 12 years and Lewandowski has taken himself to the next level this season.
“I can’t believe they have cancelled it. It’s cruel, that is a good word to describe it. Lewandowski deserves to win that award for what he has done this season and if he leads Bayern Munich to the Champions League and they still decide they won’t give it out to him, it’s not right.”
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The prolific Pole has been in an unstoppable form on both European and domestic fronts.
He enjoyed his best-ever Bundesliga season, netting 34 goals to win the Torjägerkanone for a fifth time and power Bayern to an eighth successive league title.
Two weeks after lifiting the Meisterschale, he scored a brace to help the Bavarian giants complete a domestic double against Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final.
Lewandowski has been finding the net with incredible regularity since arriving in Germany in 2010 - once every 109 Bundesliga minutes over the last decade.
But even by his standards, the 2019/20 season has been an exceptional campaign for Lewandowksi, or as he's known by his teammates, 'Lewangoalski'.
In the league, his tally of 34 goals was six more than Chelsea new boy Timo Werner managed (28) and an incredible 17 more than Manchester United target Jadon Sancho, who finished third in the German goalscoring charts.
But it's on the continent where the former Borussia Dortmund hitman has been at his most devastating.
His goal in Bayern's 3-0 victory over Lyon in the semis was the 15th time he has netted in the Champions League this season and he still has a few records in his sights.
Ronaldo holds the record for the most Champions League goals in one season (17) but that was achieved in more games due to the abolition of second legs in this year's quarter-finals and semi-finals.
Along with Serge Gnabry, he is also looking to become only the fifth player to score in every round of the competition after Diego Milito, Messi, Ronaldo and Sadio Mane.
Only Raul, Messi and Ronaldo sit ahead of him in the competition's all-time leading goalscorers chart and with his current tally of 68 just three short of Raul's haul, he is sure to overtake the retired Spaniard.
"What I try to do is to always show the best of myself, win trophies and score more goals. But that's something that comes with collective trophies. That's the most important thing," Lewandowski told France Football.
"I don't even think about the Ballon d'Or, even if, in my life, I believe that anything is possible."
For a player who seems to be right at the peak of his powers, the frightening thing is that he believes he can still get even better.
King of the goal charts
Bundesliga top scorers
Robert Lewandowski - 34 goals
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) - 28 goals
Jadon Sancho (Dortmund) - 17 goals
Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg) - 16 goals
Riuwen Hennings (Fortuna) - 15 goals
Champions League top scorers
Lewandowksi - 15 goals
Erling Haaland (Dortmund) - 10 goals
Serge Gnabry (Bayern) - 9 goals
Gabriel Jesus (Man City) - 6 goals
Raheem Sterling (Man City) - 6 goals
"I'm convinced that the best period of my career is just around the corner. I know that this won't be my last contract. I want to play longer and stay in shape. I've got plenty of time to think about what comes next, but I feel really good," he added.
"For me, age has no importance in terms of everything that I do, of my involvement in football and my life away from it.
"I don't just want to stay at the top of my game for the next two or three seasons, I'm looking more long-term than that."
In the short term, Lewandowski will be desperate to complete a remarkable individual season with the ultimate European glory.
And in truth, it's a brave punter who would bet against the forward being the difference between Bayern and PSG come Sunday night.
Absolutely anyone can watch the Champions League final from 7pm on Sunday 23 August exclusively live on BT Sport. Find out all the different ways you can enjoy PSG and Bayern Munich colliding in the biggest game in club football.