The Best 2021: Winners' reactions

  • Alexia Putellas and Robert Lewandowski crowned The Best

  • Reactions from the grateful winners

  • "I never imagined I’d reach this level"

The cream of football was recognised in Zurich tonight at The Best FIFA Football Awards™. After well deserved awards for recipients ranging from outstanding coaches through wonderful fans to glorious goalkeepers, FIFA.com gathered reaction from the grateful winners.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player

Robert Lewandowski: "The first time will always be the first time, but winning the title for the second time in a row means a lot to me. I think that my athletic performance has developed in the right direction over the last two years. I am always very happy to receive individual awards because it is always an award for my team as well. What I win, the team also wins and that makes me very proud."

The Best FIFA Women’s Player

Alexia Putellas: "I never imagined I’d reach this level.  But when you put in the work and people have faith in you, the results come. That’s how it has been for me."

The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper

Christiane Endler: "Coming from such a small and unknown country, in terms of women’s football, getting here and winning The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper Award is an honour for me, even more so with the great goalkeepers I was competing against. I think all three of us deserved to win this award and any one of us could have won, so I’d also like to congratulate them for everything they achieved last year."

The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper

Edouard Mendy: "I feel really proud to be the first African goalkeeper to win this award. I think it’s a great thing to get, and, yes, I’m really proud of myself, my family, my club, and the fans all around the world. This award makes me happy, and it pushes me to keep going."

FIFA Puskas Award

Erik Lamela: "It's the second time in a row that Tottenham Hotspur has won the FIFA Puskás Award. For my fans in London, I hope to see another player from the club win it. It’s a special trophy and a special award that I will keep with me forever." 

The Best FIFA Women's Coach

Emma Hayes: "I’m lost for words, which doesn’t happen often. I just keep thinking about all my childhood and all my dreams, and all the hard work that my family have put into me, because they allowed me to do my job, my profession." 

Thomas Tuchel, who joined the interview shortly before Hayes departed, said about his Chelsea colleague: "Well, it speaks for itself. She is already a legend here, and I’m trying hard to keep up and to stay as long as she does, and to catch as many titles."

The Best FIFA Men's Coach

Thomas Tuchel: "I feel like I can be the best version of myself at Chelsea, that I’m trusted and supported, and you can never, ever underestimate that. I feel happy, and I take the The Best FIFA Men's Coach award on behalf of everybody who supports me and has supported me. I promise I will not stop working hard, staying humble, and always knowing that it’s a team effort."

FIFA Fair Play Award

Christian Norkjaer: "It was a fantastic day. We had been looking forward to it for a long time. We were in Parken Stadium. Everything was perfect. And in a split second everything changed, and it turned into a nightmare. Football and the tournament meant nothing and the only thing that mattered was that Christian Eriksen survived."

Norkjaer also sent a message to Christian Eriksen: “Christian, you know that we love you as a football player and as a person. We are very much looking forward to seeing you back on the pitch soon and hopefully back in our team very, very soon."

FIFA Fan Award

Joni Haltia (Finland fan): "You can’t imagine this belief and the feeling [we] had in the stadium. Nobody wanted to talk about anything, we were all so worried and we didn’t want to be part of all that. Imagine, it was Finland’s first ever match in the tournament, and we had lots of expectation, so it was an emotional rollercoaster. But when some time had passed and we heard that Christian was in a stable condition, it kind of felt like we wanted to do something – I wanted to do something. I mean, I’m a football supporter; I don’t want to be quiet in the stands. We have a history [among] the Finnish national team supporters, we have some chants that we do, [where] we start the chant and the rest of the stadium answers. So, I got the idea, 'Why not try this here?'" Jasin Rahmani Christensen (Denmark fan): "It was very special. There were almost tears running down my face while I was chanting “Eriksen” because it was such a rollercoaster. We just heard that he was stable and alive, and it was very difficult for us. And that kind of shock that the Danish fans were in. What kind of support can you show? Can you sing? And, it was perfect, the way the Finnish fans reacted. It was amazing, and very, very beautiful."

The Best FIFA Special Award