Image Credits: Getty Images.
Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze won the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Best Women’s Player Award and Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski was named the Best Men’s Player at a virtual ceremony held at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday.
Best FIFA Women’s Player: Lucy Bronze
“I don’t have the words right now to explain how I’m feeling,” said Bronze, who is the first female English player to take the prize.
“If there’s anything 2020 has taught us to appreciate every moment you’ve got, not look too far ahead and live in the here and now.
“I appreciate it more than ever. I’ll remember this moment forever, for the rest of my life.”
Best FIFA Men’s Player: Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski beat off competition from last year’s winner Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 32-year-old, who won the German league and cup double as well as the Champions League with Bayern, finished as top scorer in all three competitions and won the award for the first time.
He also led Poland to Euro 2020 qualification and was named the 2019-20 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Men’s Player of the Year in October.
“To win such an award and share this title with (previous winners) Messi and Ronaldo, is unbelievable and means so much to me,” Lewandowski said.
“I am very proud and happy. This is a great day for me, and also for my club and colleagues.”
“This award also belongs to my colleagues, the coach and Bayern in general. It is an incredible feeling, a lot of emotions.”
Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper: Sarah Bouhaddi
Olympique Lyonnais’ French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi won the Best Women’s Goalkeeper award.
“I would like to share this trophy with my club, and with my president (Jean-Michel Aulas). It’s thanks to them that I am here today. I worked a lot, but they gave me everything I needed to reach the top level,” said Bouhaddi, who won the prize for the first time.
“I’m grateful as well to all my educators and trainers that I met in the past, since my childhood. They helped me to grow up, to build myself. All I have today is thanks to them. I want to dedicate this trophy to all the people who helped me during my career and who still follow me today.”
Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
“This was without a doubt the best year of my career – what we achieved was incredible. Last summer in Lisbon was particularly spectacular. It’s tough for all of us at the moment to have no fans in the stadiums. We’ve got a great mindset in our team, we play for our fans and give it our very best in every game,” said Neuer, goalkeeper of Bayern Munich.
“You can’t compare individual awards with winning titles with the team. For me, team achievements are more important because you can celebrate them with the whole squad.”
Best FIFA Women’s Coach: Sarina Wiegman
“I was a little surprised but I’m very happy and honored with this recognition,” said Wiegman,a Dutch former footballer and current head coach of the Netherlands women’s national football team.
“You need to have a team around you and everyone needs to go in the same direction. I’m the lucky one who can work with the best players in the world. We’ve been growing and growing over the years,” added Wiegman, who won the award for the second time in her career following her 2017 success.
Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool’s German coach Jurgen Klopp was chosen as the Best FIFA Men’s Coach for the second year in a row – the first person ever to achieve that feat.
“I have so many people I’d like to thank, in particular my coaching staff. If I’d thought for one moment that I was going to win tonight, then I’d have brought them all here with me. I’ve got a world-class team and a lot of strong individuals around me, so it’s everyone’s duty to give it the best they’ve got. No-one needs to worry about me getting tired, but there are no guarantees of success,” he said.
Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-min won the FIFA Puskas Award, highlighting the most aesthetically significant, or “most beautiful,” goal of the calendar year.
Son took only 12 seconds to control the ball and net it at the other end during a Premier League match with Burnley FC on December 7, 2019. “The irresistible solo run by the Tottenham forward was voted the best goal,” FIFA said.
Brazil’s Marivaldo Francisco da Silva was honored with the FIFA Fan Award.
“Lacking the money to pay for transport, this fan walks for 12 hours, crossing three cities, to watch his team’s home matches. The Brazilian’s story received the most votes,” FIFA explained.
Italy’s Mattia Agnese won the FIFA Fair Play Award after the 17-year-old helped rescue an opponent during a game.
After seeing an opponent fall to the ground and lose consciousness, Agnese did not hesitate, rushing to the player’s aid, getting him into a safe position and ultimately saving his life before help arrived, FIFA said. (CGTN)