Saturday, July 13, 2024

Robert Lewandowski Beats Ronaldo And Messi, Named World’s Best

The 2020 FIFA Best Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year were announced during a virtual ceremony broadcast from Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski beat off competition from Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Barcelona to take the Men’s award. The FIFA Awards became a stand-alone event in 2016 and Cristiano Ronaldo took home the first two trophies. Last year the winner was Lionel Messi and in 2018 it was Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric.

Lewandowski was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in October and World Soccer’s top player earlier this month. He scored 57 goals in 47 club games in the 2019-20 season.

Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze became the first defender to be named the Best Women’s Player of the Year. A year ago, Bronze made the final three but lost to Megan Rapinoe in FIFA polling.

Chelsea forward, Pernille Harder, and Lyon captain Wendie Renard completed the shortlist this season – it was the same final three for the UEFA Awards.

Coach Awards

The two coaching awards went to Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool, for the second straight year, and to Sarina Wiegman, head coach of the Dutch women’s national team.  

Emma Hayes of Chelsea and Jean-Luc Vasseur of Olympique Lyon finished behind Wiegman who will take over the England squad in 2021. Hans Dieter-Flick of Bayern Munich lost on a tie-breaker to Klopp and Leeds United’s Marcelo Bielsa was the other contender.

Three other individual winners were announced along with a Fair Play Award and the FIFA FIFPro Men’s and Women’s Best 11 was also announced.

Three other individual winners were announced along with a Fair Play Award and the FIFA FIFPro Men’s and Women’s Best 11 was also announced.

Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper

Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer added the FIFA Best to his selection as the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year. Last year’s winner, Alisson Bekker of Liverpool, and perennial contender Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid were also shortlisted.

Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper

Sarah Bouhaddi of France and Olympique Lyon won the award for the Best Women’s goalkeeper although oddly, she did not make the Best 11.  Bouhaddi has won 10 French titles and 7 UEFA Women’s Champions League winner’s medals with Olympique Lyon.

Christine Endler of Chile and Paris St. Germain) was named to the Best 11 and Alyssa Naeher (of the Chicago Red Stars completed the final three.  

Dutch captain Sari van Veenendaal won the award in 2019. She was the first ever recipient of the Women’s award.

FIFA Ferenc Puskás Award

The FIFA Ferenc Puskás Award for the Best goal scored in the world over the last year went to Son Heung-min. He scored an outrageous goal for Spurs against Burnley in a Premier League match in December. What’s more, VAR didn’t come in to it!

Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Luis Suarez made the shortlist of three.

The FIFA FIFPro Best 11 were selected from shortlists of 55 players announced earlier and the voting was from fellow professionals using a 4-3-3 formation.

Men’s Best 11

GK – Alisson Becker

Defense – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sergio RamosVirgil van Dijk, Alphonso Davies

Midfield – Kevin de Bruyne, Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich

Forwards –Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo

Players in bold were also selected in 2019. Messi and Ronaldo have been named to every world 11 since 2007 and this was the 14th time Messi and Ronaldo have made the 11.

Women’s Best 11

GK – Christiane Endler

Defense – Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard, Millie Bright, Delphine Cascarino

Midfield – Barbara Bonansea, Veronica Boquete, Megan Rapinoe

Forwards – Pernille Harder, Vivianne Miedema, Tobin Heath

Players in bold were also selected in 2019.

FIFA Fan Award

A worldwide poll limited to fans, voted on the FIFA Fan Award. The nominations were James Anderson, Colombian Fans, and Marivaldo Francisco da Silva.

Scottish philanthropist James Anderson donated around $4 million in 2019 to help clubs struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. Colombian soccer fans’ response to Covid-19 was to collect and distribute food to the countries most vulnerable citizens.

The winner was Sport Club do Recife supporter Marivaldo Francisco da Silva who does not miss a home game despite having to walk over 60 kilometers each time.

FIFA Fair Play Award

The FIFA Fair Play Award went to teenager Mattia Agnese who administered first-aid to an opposition player after a collision. The player lost consciousness but was saved by Agnese’s effort.

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