Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich has named three players who would have been in contention for the Ballon d'Or alongside Robert Lewandowski, had it not been scrapped due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year for the first time since its introduction in 1956, as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on world football.
Bayern Munich talisman Lewandowski was widely tipped to be the front-runner for the award before the shocking decision was made earlier last month.
Speaking to Goal, Kimmich admitted that the usual suspects like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have been in contention for the Ballon d'Or, while Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne was also singled out for special praise.
"Of course, like always, [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] would be in contention."
"And for me, I think Kevin De Bruyne played an outstanding season, so maybe him."
Bayern Munich look to get their hands on the European Cup again
Bayern Munich have been one of the most in-form teams in world football since the restart and have already completed the domestic double this season.
Hansi Flick has rejuvenated the Bavarian giants and spearheaded them to their eighth successive Bundesliga title, while they also have one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Having beaten Chelsea 3-0 in March, Bayern Munich are in pole position to secure qualification to the single-legged quarterfinal stage. Lewandowski is expected to be in the thick of the action for his side, as the Polish striker looks to continue his red hot form in front of goal.
With a staggering 51 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich this season, Lewandowski is enjoying the best season of his career and looked well-positioned to be a front-runner for the Ballon d'Or before it was scrapped.
Despite the circumstances, Lewandowski and Bayern Munich can cap off a stunning season with Champions League glory.
If they secure qualification to the quarterfinals, Flick's side will face the winner of the round of 16 tie between Napoli and Barcelona.
Published 31 Jul 2020, 17:29 IST