There will no Ballon d’Or winners in 2020 due to the ongoing impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the game, organisers France Football magazine have announced.

As a result, it will be the first time football’s most prestigious individual prize will not be handed out since its inception in 1956.

Ballon d’Or winners and the top 10 players from 2000 to 2019: From Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to Michael Owen and Ronaldinho

France Football believes there has been ‘a lack of sufficient fair conditions’ because of the disruption caused to the global game by COVID-19.

“Such a singular year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist,” a statement on the magazine’s website read.

“The fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in the preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be housed in the same boat, some having seen their season cut radically, others not. How can we compare the incomparable?”

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is the current holder of the award, having won it for a record sixth time in 2019 .

“Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time,” the magazine’s statement continued.

“In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity.”

The ‘big five’ European leagues, with the exception of France, have or are on course to complete the 2019-20 seasons, albeit behind closed doors.

Lewandowski is 31, but shows no sign of losing his appetite for scoring goals

While both Messi and Ronaldo are having good seasons by their standards, the news may come as a blow to Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski , who has scored 34 Bundesliga goals in 31 games this season.

“If you look at what he’s achieved, you have to consider it,” said his manager, Hans Flick, when asked about the player’s chances of winning after Bayern’s Cup final win over Leverkusen at the start of July.

Lewandowski scored twice and Flick added: “Why shouldn’t it be someone from the Bundesliga? He fulfils all the requirements.”

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