Lewandowski: It'll take a while to absorb this
Bayern's Lewandowski and Neuer win The Best FIFA Men’s Player and Goalkeeper
Klopp scoops The Best FIFA Men’s Coach once again
Read what the award winners had to say
The Best FIFA Football Awards™ had a very German feel to them this year, at least as far as the men’s categories were concerned, with Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer from quintuple-winners Bayern Munich chosen as The Best FIFA Men’s Player and The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper.
On top of that, Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) was chosen as The Best FIFA Men’s Coach for the second year in a row – the first person ever to achieve that feat.
After the award ceremony in Zurich, the three above-mentioned winners, as well as FIFA Puskás Award-winner for the year’s best goal Son Heungmin, spoke to the press.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player: Robert Lewandowski
"This really is something – Messi and Ronaldo have been playing at the highest level for years and now I’m rubbing shoulders with them. This means that all the hard work has paid off. I wouldn’t have achieved this without the team – they're the ones who create the situations for me. It'll take a while to absorb what I’ve achieved and I think I’ll struggle to get to sleep tonight. But I’m really happy. We’re all proud because it’s an award that recognises the whole team. To win an award after so many years as a Bayern player is really something special. It was a long time coming for the club. I hope that we can end up shaping an era in football. We’ve got good young players and we’re ready to step up and face big challenges and go on to win more titles. The team is functioning well and going in the right direction.
Regardless of how many titles I may have won, it’ll never be enough. I’m already looking towards the next trophies – that’s my mentality and the mindset of the whole team. Winning a title once is tough, winning it twice is even more difficult. I hope that we’ll be able to celebrate with our fans next year. It was quite simply a sensational year. Staying at the top is tough, but that’s what we want to do. I’d like to thank everyone in the coaching staff and all my team-mates – I could never have done it without them. It’s hard to find the right words. I’m very proud.
As a young player I always used to watch Ronaldo and Romario – they were the big names. Brazil always had great strikers and I learned a lot from watching them. I always used to follow whoever was wearing the yellow No.9, 10 or 11 jersey. I’d tell my 16-year-old self that you can always play well, regardless of where you’re from."
The 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.
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. I’ll be sleeping at home tonight but when you celebrate with the team, it’s something special because you get to revel in everything that you’ve worked for over the past year.
I was first put in goal when I was four years old. We didn’t have a keeper and, since we trained on a red ash pitch, nobody wanted to go in goal. Therefore I had to, because I was the last kid to join. I did a good job and after that, I was in there for good. German football has had some great goalkeepers over the years – Sepp Maier, Toni Schumacher, Oliver Kahn from home but also Buffon and Van der Saar. There have been so many incredible keepers and that makes this award even more special."
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp
"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.
A lot of people may have been rather surprised by tonight’s awards, and I thought that Hansi Flick might win it since Bayern had such an incredible season. Nevertheless, we’re very proud. It’s a great honour and I can hardly believe it. I have the greatest respect for Marcelo Bielsa – he’s doing incredible work with Leeds – but Hansi Flick would also have been a worthy winner. He’s doing great things as well and I have so much respect for the two of them. Bielsa is one of the greatest coaches in world football. He has an incredible brain and is a stand-out coach."
FIFA Puskás Award-winner: Son Heungmin
"I have incredible emotions tied to this goal and to this award. It was a wonderful goal, but to pick up this award makes me feel unbelievably grateful. I would like to thank everybody who voted for me."