According to The Guardian, Robert Lewandowski has won the 2021 FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award, beating Lionel Messi to the title, and Alexia Putellas has won the 2021 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award after winning the Ballon D’or in late November of 2021.
Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski has won the award for the second time in a row, after missing out on the Ballon D’or title a couple of months ago, when Argentinian Lionel Messi won the award for a seventh time. Some say Lewandowski deserved the award for an impressive and record-breaking season, scoring 69 goals in the calendar year, according to Transfermarkt.
The “FIFA The Best”’ awards are separate from the Ballon D’or. While both award the best player of the calendar year, the Ballon D’Or is the more prestigious and respected award of the two.
The Ballon D’or and “FIFA The Best” awards are voted on by the most important players, coaches and journalists in the footballing world. According to FIFA’s official website, the “FIFA The Best” award is a newer prize.
“I feel very honored, very proud and happy. I want to thank my teammates. We all work hard to win trophies. This is a title for everyone around me,” said Lewandowski, who received the award virtually at FIFA The Best Football Awards ceremony on Monday night, according to FC Bayern Munich’s official website.
“I’m very happy and thrilled. I would like to thank all my teammates and congratulate them because this award is for all of us,” Putellas said in her acceptance speech, according to Eurosport.
Guilford student and Bayern Munich fan Roman Robinson shared his thoughts on Lewandowski.
“I think he is the best player in the world right now and definitely should have won the Ballon D’or as well,” Robinson said.
According to The Guardian, Coach of the Year awards were given to Thomas Tuchel, head coach of Chelsea FC, and Emma Hayes, head coach of Chelsea Women. The Goalkeeper of the Year award was given to Eduard Mendy, the goalkeeper for Chelsea FC and the Senegalese national team.
Thomas Tuchel shared his thoughts on winning the Coach of the Year award.
“I’m overwhelmed, a bit uncomfortable actually,” Tuchel said, according to the Guardian. “I enjoy the journey and I enjoy the club, it’s a good fit. The company on the journey is so good, so I’m grateful to have such supportive people around me, to feel so good in such a competitive club.”
He added that the team is still fighting to improve after winning the UEFA Champions League last season. According to online soccer app Fotmob, the club continues to fight for more titles as they sit in third place in the Barclays Premier League, 10 points behind league leaders Manchester City.
Guilford student and Chelsea fan Jair Ballesteros said, “I am extremely proud of what Chelsea has done this past year and I am so excited for what they can do…Not only do we have the best goalie in the world and we have just come off the Champions League Final win. We are the best team in the world right now.”
According to The Guardian, Hayes, who led the female Blues to a Women’s Super League title, came out victorious in the League Cup and made an appearance in the Women’s Champions League final, stated that she is “completely shocked…I’ve got brilliant people at Chelsea that have helped to support the team to the place we’re at. Honestly, I’m absolutely shocked right now.”
Guilford College student Ibrahim shared his thoughts on Women’s Super League winners Chelsea FC, whom he has followed all season.
“I began following women’s soccer and Chelsea stood out to me; their play style and organization was superior to anyone else,” he said. “I think they deserved those titles, and it was all thanks to their coach, Hayes.”
As the 2021 football calendar year wraps up, Lewandowski, Pullets and Chelsea FC will continue to fight to perform consistently and to be up on the podium again next year.