Dubai: Poland and Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski bagged the ‘Best Player of the Year’ award, while Portugal and Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo walked away with the ‘Player of the Century’ honour at the annual 2020 Dubai Globe Soccer Awards, held late on Sunday.
Shaikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council (DSC) crowned the winners of this year’s Dubai Globe Soccer Awards at a glittering ceremony held at the Armani Hotel at the foot of Burj Khalifa, late on Sunday.
Organised in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council and Dubai International Sports Conference, the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards honour the best players, coaches, clubs and agents. The evening took time off to pay special tributes to the late Diego Maradona and Italian World Cup star Paolo Rossi.
Shaikh Mansoor was joined by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Mattar Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, Humaid Al Qatami, Director General of Dubai Health Authority and First Vice-Chairman of the National Olympic Committee and Saeed Hareb, General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, among others.
Ronaldo, who is a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or and one of the most decorated players of the modern era, has won seven league titles over the past two decades with three different clubs — Manchester United (3), Real Madrid (2) and Juventus (2) — as well as five UEFA Champions League and four FIFA Club World Cup, alongside a number of other cups and competitions.
He was also captain of the Portugal national team, which triumphed at the 2016 Uefa European Championship and the 2018-19 Uefa Nations League.
Shaikh Mansoor also handed out the Best Player of Year Award to Lewandowski. The Pole has scored a staggering 55 goals in 47 appearances for Bayern Munich last season, while finishing as top goalscorer in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League.
Interestingly, Ronaldo had led both the ‘Player of the Year’ and ‘Player of the Century’ categories of the Awards at the end of the second and final stage of voting by fans on December 21. More than 13 million fans had voted for their favourites in the second stage, taking the aggregate of fan votes for this year’s Dubai Globe Soccer Awards to more than 21 million. More than 8 million fans had voted in the first round itself.
The fan votes, however, had only 40 per cent weightage in deciding the winners. The votes by the Awards’ jury had a 60 per cent weightage and the final winners were announced after taking the jury votes into count at Sunday’s glittering ceremony.
Two Spanish greats, goalkeeping legend Iker Casillas and Barcelona superstar Gerard Pique, were presented with ‘Player Career Awards’ by Sheikh Mansoor.
Bayern Munich, winner of the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal treble last season, were declared the Club of the Year and Lewandowski accepted the award on their behalf, while Real Madrid — winners of five UEFA Champions League, four Uefa Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, four FIFA Club World Cups, seven Spanish La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey and six Supercopa de Espana in this millennium — were adjudged Club of the Century (2001-2020).
Egyptian powerhouses Al Ahli — winners of 13 Egyptian league titles, six Egypt Cup and 11 Super Cup at home, as well as seven African Champions League, six CAF Super Cup and a CAF Confederation Cup since 2001 — were declared the Middle East Club of the Century (2001-2020).
In the battle for Coach of the Year, Bayern Munich’s treble-winning boss Hans-Dieter Flick edged Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Gian Piero Gasperini, manager of Italian club Atalanta, for the honours. “I dedicate this award to an amazing team of players and support staff. It has been a crazy and challenging year, but I have been blessed to have some of the best players who became aware of their strengths with each passing game,” Flick said.
Spaniard Pep Guardiola, who has won eight league titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and his current club Manchester City, as well as two UEFA Champions League, three Uefa Super Cup and three FIFA Club World Cup since embarking on his managerial odyssey in 2008-09, was named Coach of the Century (2001-2020), ahead of current Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson and ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho.
Portuguese Super Agent Jorge Mendes bagged the Agent of the Century award, ahead of Dutchman Mino Raiola and Italy’s Giovanni Branchini.
DUBAI GLOBE SOCCER AWARDS
Player of Year 2020: Robert Lewandowski
Player of Century 2001-2020: Cristiano Ronaldo
Player Career Award: Iker Casillas
Player Career Award: Gerard Pique
Club of the Year 2020: Bayern Munich
Club of the Century: 2001-2020: Real Madrid
Middle East Club of Century 2001-2020: Al Ahli, Egypt
Coach of the Year 2020: Hans-Dieter Flick
Coach of the Century2001-2020: Josep Guardiola
Agent of the Century 2001-2020: Jorge Mendes