News ID: 319482
Published: 1015 GMT January 18, 2022

Lewandowski named FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year; Iran’s Taremi fails to claim Puskas Award

Lewandowski named FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year; Iran’s Taremi fails to claim Puskas Award
AFP

Robert Lewandowski (R) poses with The Best FIFA Men’s Player alongside Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann in Munich, Germany, on January 17, 2022.

Sports Desk

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2021, while Iranian Mehdi Taremi’s dream of claiming the Puskas Award was shattered by Argentine Erik Lamela.

This was a second successive FIFA recognition for the Polish striker, who beat Argentinian Lionel Messi and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah for the honor, after a season in which he beat late German Gerd Mueller's 49-year record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign.

“To win it for a second consecutive year means a lot to me. I think my performances in the last couple of years have developed in the right direction. I’m always delighted to win individual accolades because they’re also awards for my team,” Lewandowski told FIFA’s official website.

“I’m very sorry that Gerd isn’t able to witness this today, but I’m sure he was watching from above. The moment when I scored the 41st goal in the last minute against Augsburg was like in a Hollywood movie. It means a great deal to me to measure myself against such a huge legend from world football.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki paid tribute to his countryman, writing on Facebook, “Robert is someone special. He is the greatest footballer in the history of our country. The best Polish ambassador and a role model for young people, not only those playing football.”

Elsewhere in Monday’s ceremony, held virtually in the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas won The Best FIFA Women's Player prize.

German Thomas Tuchel, who led Premier League club Chelsea to the Champions League in May, was rewarded with The Best FIFA Men’s Coach award, with Emma Hayes taking The Best FIFA Women’s Coach prize after winning the Women's Super League, FA Cup and League Cup treble in England – also with Chelsea.

A third prize of the evening for the West London club went to Senegal international Edouard Mendy, who was recognized with The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award, while Chile and Lyon’s Christiane Endler won the award in the women’s category.

The Denmark national team and their medical staff won the Fair Play award for their swift response after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field during the Euro 2020 game with Finland.

MARCELO DEL POZO/REUTERS

Porto’s Mehdi Taremi (L) scores in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in April 2021.

 

Heartbroken Taremi

 

The most eagerly-awaited moment of the ceremony for the Iranians was perhaps the presentation of the Puskas Award, which goes to the scorer of the best goal of the calendar year, as Porto’s Taremi was shortlisted for the award for his astonishing overhead kick in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at the Champions League quarterfinals in April.

The result, however, turned out to be disappointing for the Iranian international, who had claimed the majority of the fans’ vote, as FIFA’s panel of experts decided to hand out the award to former Tottenham winger Lamela – now playing for Sevilla – after his 'rabona' finish in the north London derby against Arsenal last March.

“To be among the three nominees was a great honor which belonged to all Iranians, but I wish I had won the award so that I would dedicate it to my people as a gratitude for their support,” Taremi told Iranian television afterwards.

“I will put in all my efforts to win a prize on other occasions in the future in the name of my country,” added the Iranian.

Czech international Patrik Schick had also been shortlisted for the award for his effort from halfway line in a 2-0 win against Scotland at the European Championships in June.

 

Reuters contributed to the report.

 

   
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