Robert Lewandowski won the biggest individual award of his career on Thursday, proving that a striker who is not named Messi or Ronaldo can be voted the best footballer in the world.
The captain of Poland was named best FIFA 2020 player after his 55-goal season led Bayern Munich to a string of domestic and international trophies.
Lewandowski was at the top of a three-player roster that included Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The vote was entrusted to a global jury made up of captains and coaches of the national teams, as well as selected journalists and fans. Lewandowski received 52 voting points, with Ronaldo second out of 38 Messi third with 35.
Although FIFA hosted the virtual ceremony in Zurich, its president Gianni Infantino traveled to Munich to present the trophy in person.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Lewandowski, who entered the shortlist for the first time at the age of 32.
Lewandowski has joined Luka Modric, the Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder who won in 2018, as the only players in the past 13 years to deny both Messi and Ronaldo victory.
“Today they are among them,” Lewandowski said in comments translated from German. “It means I’ve always done the right things in my life.”
Lucy Bronze was voted the best female player for giving England their first individual victory at the FIFA awards. A Champions League winner with Lyon, she has since moved to Manchester City.
The bronze got 52 points from the jury of the female vote. Pernille Harder, who helped Wolfsburg in the Champions League final, finished second on 40 points and former Lyon team-mate Wendi Renard scored 35 points.
Lewandowski is also the first male winner of a club outside Spain since Ronaldo won the award in 2008 as a Manchester United player.
A Bayern player hadn’t won since FIFA created a world award in 1991.
The club has twice seen its stars relegated to third place by Messi and Ronaldo: Franck Ribéry in 2013 won Bayern’s Champions League and Manuel Neuer a year later after Germany won the World Cup.
Jurgen Klopp, who coached Lewandowski at their former club Borussia Dortmund, denied Bayern a round of men’s FIFA awards having been voted best manager for the second year in a row.
Klopp led Liverpool to become England champions for the first time in 30 years and finished tied with Hansi Flick, who took over from Bayern mid-season. Klopp won in the tiebreaker with the most votes of the national team coaches. Marcelo Bielsa of second level English champion Leeds was third.
Sarina Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to the 2019 World Cup final, was voted best coach in women’s football ahead of Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur and Chelsea’s Emma Hayes. Wiegma will take over the direction of the English team next year.
Son Heung-min’s end-to-end dribble to score for Tottenham against Burnley won the Puskas Award for best goal.
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United and England forward, was honored for his campaign against child poverty. FIFA made a donation of $ 100,000 to its charity.
Best goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Sarah Bouhaddi (France, Lyon).
Fair Play Award: Mattia Agnese, a teenager in Italy who saved the life of an opponent who lost consciousness after a clash of heads.
Fan Award: Marivaldo Francisco da Silva walking 11 hours to see his favorite team play in Brazil.
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