When Lionel Messi won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and Ballon d’Or last year, it raised eyebrows and surprised many because, in the 2018-19 season, Messi’s achievements were nowhere near to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, who enjoyed a dream season. Van Dijk was the choice of the majority, but FIFA and France Football showed their biased nature and awarded Messi.
? Who do you think should win #TheBest FIFA Men's Player 2020 award?
?? Lionel Messi
? Make your case below! ? pic.twitter.com/TjoghKI5fP
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 12, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, France Football cancelled the Ballon d’Or award this year, but the rest of the award functions did take place.
All eyes were fixed on FIFA World Player of the year and when the top 3 nominated players were announced a few weeks back, the presence of Messi surprised everyone again. If someone looks back at the 2019-20 season, one could easily end up saying, Messi achieved nothing other than digesting the eight-goal humiliation against the German Giants – Bayern Munich.
To be honest, neither Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to be on the top 3!
Dimitar Berbatov has made clear that he could not understand why Messi is being considered for the award.
Also read: Robert Lewandowski: The best number 9 in the world right now
“I’m surprised that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are among the finalists, I can’t understand why they should fill those positions,” Berbatov explained in his column for Betfair.
“Unfortunately, football is a business and behind the scenes, there are agents, press, much more beyond the cameras and what we see. It’s a bit embarrassing.”
Neymar digests another injustice. Despite such a brilliant season he's not considered in the FIFA World XI whereas, despite being a pathetic loser, Messi has been included. #FIFAFootballAwards pic.twitter.com/7PQDDO89QD
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) December 17, 2020
Deserving candidates like Neymar, who had a brilliant season in 2019-20 and took a mediocre team like Paris Saint-Germain to the finals of the UEFA Champions League, was ignored. Injustice towards Neymar by media and top officials of football is nothing new, but this exclusion from the top 3 and also the FIFA XI of the year did not make any sense.
Again, Manuel Neuer, who won the best goalkeeper of the year award was not included in the FIFA XI, which was a surprising thing along with his exclusion from the top 3! There is no need to explain in detail how influential Neuer had been last season for Bayern Munich.
The Champions League final could have been VERY different if it wasn’t for Manuel Neuer ? pic.twitter.com/ZL6FsEd6gK
— GOAL (@goal) August 27, 2020
Neymar and Neuer should have been in the top 3 rather than Cristiano and Messi.
When FIFA announced that Jurgen Klopp would be the winner of the best coach award, the doubts of yet another biased exhibition started to gather momentum in the minds of the fans and critics.
?? It's back-to-back crowns for Jurgen Klopp! Congratulations to the @LFC boss on becoming the first to win #TheBest FIFA Men's Coach twice ?#FIFAFootballAwards pic.twitter.com/VfsfVdwDqf
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 17, 2020
Klopp was a worthy contender, but if anyone deserves the award then it was none other than Hansi Flick, who brought glory to Bayern Munich with his ruthless footballing display.
Even Klopp was surprised after winning the award.
“I am [shocked]. I was sitting here because I thought last year I won it. I am here with my players. Thank you very much, wow,” the German tactician said after receiving the prize.”
“I have so many people to thank and most of all my coaches. If I had known we’d won it my coaches would be here with me. What we did in the last year is all about these boys.”
“We didn’t dream 30 years but we dream already for a few years. It was absolutely exceptional and we all had a special year in an unfortunately not so positive way but for Liverpool fans at least we could make some highlights in a tricky period. I had no idea how it would feel and it felt absolutely overwhelming.”
You're our number 1️⃣, Hansi! ?????#MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/sxTg5NOxBa
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 17, 2020
“I said a couple of times I’m not the biggest believer in these kinds of individual awards for coaches but meanwhile I learned we just take it for all of us. We can obviously not change the world – one face gets the prize but it’s for all of us & I’m really proud of that.”
“I really think after winning the treble – German Cup, German League, and the Champions League – I thought Flick would win it, to be honest. He did an exceptional job.”
When the moment of the award of the best player of the year, the tension of denying the best and crowning the biased one was palpable, but thankfully, FIFA did not lose their mind.
Robert Lewandowski has been named The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2020, with the Bayern Munich star beating Messi and Ronaldo to the coveted prize – a feat achieved by Kaka back in 2007.
All Lewandowski's 1️⃣5️⃣ goals in last season's Champions League#Goal50 pic.twitter.com/bcKJvqEDes
— GOAL (@goal) November 10, 2020
The best number 9 in the world was without equal in the 2019-20 season, scoring 55 goals in 47 appearances as Bayern swept to a Bundesliga, Champions League, and DFB-Pokal treble – with Lewandowski the top scorer in all three competitions.
The 32-year-old has continued his stunning form into the new season and, on Wednesday, scored his 250th goal in the Bundesliga to help Bayern to an important win.
Lewandowski was the firm favourite to scoop the prize in a year in which the Ballon d’Or was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Robert was very unhappy with the decision.
He said, “Someone had to decide that this year there would be no Ballon d’Or.”
“Maybe they decided too early because every [other] trophy has been decided. So many players, coaches, journalists know that, for me, it was the best season.”
Surprise ??#TheBest @lewy_official pic.twitter.com/zQSdQpj33w
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 17, 2020
“We did what we did and it was spectacular. I’m glad everyone has seen it. These awards are something nice, amazing.”
“But I also know that every personal trophy is for the team. The team without the striker finds it difficult to work but the striker without the team doesn’t work either.”
Well, FIFA, in the end, did not disappoint Robert!
“I feel fantastic,” Lewandowski said.
“I am very proud and happy, to be honest; 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 Munich in general. It is an incredible feeling, a lot of emotions.”
Add it to the collection ??
? @FCBayernEN pic.twitter.com/DcXWXHNOTN
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) December 17, 2020
“If you win such an award and share that title with Messi and Ronaldo, that is unbelievable and it means so much to me. A long time ago, I remember I was longing for something like this and now I can win such an award. This really means, regardless of where you come from, all that matters is what you put into it.”
The FIFA and Ballon d’Or awards are very respected and prestigious and they should not be biased.
Hardly anyone used to question their selection in the past until the hype of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi rivalry emerged.
Such rivalries are good for football, but that should let the achievements of others down for the sake of business.
Thankfully, Robert Lewandowski won and broke the monotony.