Robert Lewandowski will be given a ball of salt in lieu of the Ballon d’Or by the Polish town of Wieliczka, as a consolation for missing out on the 2021 prize.
The award, initially proposed as a joke but now expected to actually be presented, is meant to recognize the Polish international as the best player in the world this year after he finished second to Lionel Messi in Ballon d’Or voting.
A city councilor in Wieliczka, which is historically known for salt mining, has called the Ballon d’Or snub “a great deal of injustice” and vowed to do his best to make things right.
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“There has been a great deal of injustice, and Robert Lewandowski has become its victim,” said city councilor Kamil Jastrzebski on Twitter. “Therefore — as a member of Wieliczka — I propose that the city symbolically announce that Lewy is the best footballer in the world.
“Wieliczka will actually do something that a few dozen hours ago was supposed to be just a joke to improve the mood. That is, it will symbolically recognize Lewandowski as the No. 1 player in the world.
“There was also a proposal to expand my idea. Some people want to give the captain of our team a Salt Ball. In the past, salt was called ‘white gold’, so it also has a historical and geographical basis. I think that despite inflation and the general crisis, Wieliczka will be able to get enough salt.”
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Lewandowski is a beloved figure in Poland, so it’s little surprise that his home country would look to honor him.
While he lost out on the main award of the Ballon d’Or, the decision was controversial, with some players, including teammate Thomas Muller, saying Messi should not have won. Other top candidates included Jorginho and Karim Benzema.
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Even Messi expressed sadness for Lewandowski, who was in line to win the 2020 Ballon d’Or before it was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the end, Lewandowski will have to settle for the new Striker of the Year trophy and perhaps a ball of salt — either way, it looks like he’s set to enjoy another great season.