Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski deserved to win the Ballon d'Or over Lionel Messi last month.
The Paris Saint-Germain star claimed his record seventh Ballon d'Or, beating a number of players to the coveted award. But retired MMA fighter Nurmagomedov has claimed that Bayern Munich star Lewandowski should have won the trophy following his phenomenal 120-goal haul in the last two years.
"I would give it to Lewandowski or Benzema. One of them. Lewandowski," Nurmagomedov said.
"I think. Last three years, he is the best football player.
"We can just look at his results. What he does. He has won the Champions League. He has scored more than 120 goals last two years. For the national team and club.
"It is an amazing result. For the entire football history, I cannot remember, we can name a pair of players who scored 120 goals over two years. He has 65 goals this year. It is too much. For football I think it is too much. I think he deserves Ballon d'Or."
However, in fairness to Messi, he did lead Argentina to victory at Copa America and was instrumental in helping Barcelona win another Copa del Rey before his shock transfer to PSG earlier this summer.
Speaking after scooping the award, Messi said: "I'm very happy to be here, happy to keep fighting for new trophies. I don't know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I'd like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina.
“I would like to say to Robert that it's an honor to be your rival, and everyone would say you deserved to win it last year."