Geneva (dpa) – It wouldn’t have been noticed given Bayern’s dominance, but then Robert Lewandowski named the two superstars who weren’t invited.
“It means a lot to me that I was able to win this trophy while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played,” said the Bayern star striker after his election as the best footballer in Europe. For the first time since 2006, neither FC Barcelona’s Argentinian nor Juventus Turin’s Portuguese were in the top 3 of the prestigious elections.
The Champions League draw, which, like the UEFA awards ceremony in a TV studio in Geneva, saw both names play big – the regular rivals in Group G meet for the first time so early in the premier league. “The first hit,” wrote the Spanish newspaper “Marca”. Before moving to Turin, Ronaldo spent nine years in Spain for Real Madrid.
Last season was a bit like saying goodbye to the two dominant players of the last 10 to 15 years. In the Champions League, Ronaldo was eliminated with Turin in the round of 16, Messi with Barcelona got the humiliating 8-2 in the semi-final against Bayern, who then stormed to the title.
“We have a young team with a lot of potential,” said Lewandowski after his well-deserved freestyle. With 477 points, the 32-year-old scored more than five times as many points as the second Kevin De Bruyne (90) from Manchester City. Teammate Manuel Neuer finished third with 66 points. If there is a choice of the world footballer this year, Lewandowski would also be the favorite – even if coaches and fans around the world have the right to vote for the FIFA World Federation Prize, who may be even more attached to the great names of Messi and Ronaldo.
“Robert Lewandowski represents goals and spectacles – what ultimately gets fans excited about this sport,” said Bayern president Herbert Hainer. “In my opinion he has been the best striker in Europe for a long time and he has more than deserved this award.” The Pole is “one of the most important players in the history of the club”.
In addition to Lewandowski, who was also hailed as the best striker last season, Neuer won the UEFA election as best goalkeeper, Joshua Kimmich as best defender and successful coach Hansi Flick as best coach. “It was a historic evening for FC Bayern,” said CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “All this is a clear testament to the great performance that our team and our coaching team have delivered. FC Bayern is currently experiencing extraordinary times that are unparalleled.”