Robert Lewandowski has been crowned the 2021 FIFA Best Men’s Player. The Bayern Munich striker scored 69 goals in all competitions last year, winning the Bundesliga title and DFL Super Cup.
The Poland international pipped rivals Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah to the gong after falling short to the former at the recent Ballon d’Or awards.
Lewandowski’s sensational form has continued into this season with the 33-year-old having bagged 34 goals in 26 appearances already.
Two-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema were among the candidates but neither have matched the feats of Lewandowski across the past year.
Ronaldo, however, did become the all-time men’s international top scorer in November, having taken his tally to 115 and past Iran forward Ali Daei.
After picking up the Ballon d’Or late last year, Messi gave a special shout out to Lewandowski whom many thought should have won ahead of the Argentinian. “Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or,” he began.
“Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award. Hopefully, France Football will give you the 2020 Ballon d’Or. We all believe you deserved it and I hope you can have it at home.”
After missing out on the award, Lewandowski told Polish outlet Kanale Sportowym: “I felt sadness. I can’t deny it.
“I can’t say I was happy, on the contrary. I have a feeling of sadness.
To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.” But the Bayern Munich hitman did thank Messi for his kind words.
He said: “I was very touched and delighted by Lionel Messi’s speech at the event in Paris, in which he expressed that, in his opinion, I deserved the Ballon d’Or 2020 I just wanted to express my statement that I would of course be very happy if Messi’s words would be heard.
“I respect and appreciate Lionel Messi beyond measure and once again congratulate him on winning the Ballon d’Or.”