Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski labelled Lionel Messi "one of the best in history" after the Barcelona star claimed a record sixth Ballon d'Or.
Messi finished ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award in Paris on Monday.
Lewandowski, who placed eighth, paid tribute to Messi for his dominance for more than a decade.
"For sure he is a great player. I can only say congratulations to him," he told reporters.
"It's not the first time for him, one of the best in history not just the last few years.
"I'm glad to be close to so many players because we only get to meet each other on the pitch and now this is something different.
"For sure he is a great player, not just the past year but for 10, 15 years."
Lewandowski, 31, is enjoying another brilliant season for Bayern, already up to 27 goals in 21 games in all competitions.
The German giants are fourth in the Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but Lewandowski feels his side will only grow.
"I think everything that we are doing now this season and in the Champions League group stage will pay dividends in the future for next year, next season and I think with Bayern Munich we can play better and better," Lewandowski said.
"We have so many great players with potential and I think next season will be something special and I think we can do big things."