Lewandowski Wins FIFA Men’s Player Of 2021 Award, Beating Messi And Salah

There will be a sense of satisfaction for Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich. Months after missing out controversially on the Ballon d’Or, the 33-year-old Polish forward was awarded the FIFA The Best Men’s Player of 2021 award. 

“Everything that happened last year, the Bundesliga record, I would never have dared to dream of,” Lewandowski said during FIFA’s virtual gala on Monday evening. “If you had told me that a few years ago, I would not have believed it. Unfortunately, Gerd is no longer with us. But I couldn’t have done any of this without him.”

Awarded to the best player between October 2020 and August 2021, the FIFA award is given to the player that received the most votes by the captains and coaches of all national teams, one journalist from each FIFA member state, and a fan vote. 

Lewandowski dominated the first three categories, clearly finishing ahead of second-placed Lionel Messi. Messi, however, did win the fan vote, winning 708,206 points—Lewandowski had 353,714. Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah came in third. 

“It is well deserved for him—as I have mentioned for all the other possible personal titles,” Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann said in a club statement. “It is always deserved for him because he did so well over the last couple of seasons in the Bundesliga. He is also doing it this season and another three goals (against 1. FC Köln). He loves these situations when he can get the ball in the number 10, give it out to the wing, then follow the ball into the box. He is very dangerous, with both feet, with his head—at the end, it’s three goals again—important for us and important for him.”

The three goals against Köln brought Lewandowski’s goal tally up to 300 goals in the Bundesliga. Only former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller has scored more (365 goals). Lewandowski is the second Bundesliga player in history to reach the 300 goal benchmark. 

That goal tally is now no longer unachievable for the 33-year-old, who is only getting better and better like an old wine. Despite rumors, Lewandowski appears comfortable in Munich and has scored 23 goals in 19 games in the Bundesliga this season (1.21 goals per game). At that pace, Lewandowski would only need another 53 games to break Müller’s all-time Bundesliga goalscoring record. 

Based on goals per game, Lewandowski is already of the legendary Müller. While Müller has scored every 105 minutes throughout his Bundesliga career, Lewandowski has scored every 99 minutes. 

It would be the latest record in Lewandowski’s career. Last season, and within the period in question for the FIFA award, Lewandowski broke Müller’s single-season goalscoring record 40 goals by scoring in the last minute of Bayern’s final Bundesliga game of the season against FC Augsburg (5-2). 

With all those records in mind, both current and future, it is only consequential that Lewandowski was awarded the FIFA The Best Men’s Player of 2021 award by FIFA. It also somewhat makes up for losing out on the Ballon d’Or in 2020, when France Football opted not to award the trophy, and in 2021 when Messi beat out the Polish striker. 

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/manuelveth/2022/01/17/beats-messi-and-salah-lewandowski-wins-fifa-the-mens-player-2021-award/