Lewandowski facing Messi, Ronaldo for FIFA best player award
ZURICH, December 11: It’s Robert Lewandowski’s turn to try to stop Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from winning the FIFA best player award. The Bayern Munich forward joined the two standout players on the three-man shortlist announced Friday. Lewandowski’s goals led Bayern to a sweep of titles this year — the Champions League, the German league, the German Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
One of his 55 goals last season came in Bayern’s 8-2 rout of Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Lewandowski could become only the second player — after Luka Modric in 2018 — to deny Messi or Ronaldo since their run of FIFA domination started in 2008. Messi has won the award six times while Ronaldo has won it five times.
Two Bayern players are among those whose career years were good enough only for third place in previous votes, Franck Ribery in 2013 and Manuel Neuer in 2014.
The women’s best player shortlist includes Lucy Bronze, Wendi Renard and Pernille Harder. Bronze and Renard are teammates who won the European title with Lyon last season. Harder played on the team that lost in the final, Wolfsburg.
Harder won the UEFA award as the best women’s player in Europe last season. Lewandowski won the men’s award.
Neither Messi nor Ronaldo made it onto the three-man shortlist for the European award, voted on by coaches of top European clubs and media. Kevin De Bruyne was runner-up and Neuer finished third.
The FIFA award was voted on by a four-part worldwide jury: national team coaches and captains, media and fans.
Voting has closed and the winners will be announced on Thursday at a virtual ceremony hosted by FIFA.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa are in the running for the men’s coaching award. The coaching award in women’s soccer will be between Jean-Luc Vasseur of Lyon, Emma Hayes of Chelsea and Sarina Wiegman of the Dutch national team. (AP)