Robert Lewandowski and Fifa boss Gianni Infantino in Dubai
Robert Lewandowski and Fifa boss Gianni Infantino in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Bayern Munich’s Polish star Robert Lewandowski has set much higher targets for the season after winning an international award ahead of superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old from Warsaw took a walk down memory lane disclosing that he “had a dream of being among the best” after being presented with the ‘Best Player of the Year’ by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, at the annual 2020 Dubai Globe Soccer Awards held here late on Sunday.

“Honestly, to me winning an award was a dream. But I knew that this dream couldn’t come true with so many talented footballers in this generation, including Leo [Messi] and Ronaldo. I knew I had to do something extra to be where I am today,” Lewandowski said in his acceptance speech.

Lewandowski led a triple accolade for Bayern Munich as his coach Hansi Flick edged Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Gian Piero Gasperini, manager of Italian club Atalanta, for the ‘Best Coach of the Year’ honours, while his Bavarian club was voted ‘Best Club of the Year’.

“It is honours and awards like these that keep us going. But there is a lot of hard work to be put in as well,” Lewandowski said. “Growing up in a country like Poland, I had my fair share of challenges, leave alone being the best player on the globe. But I worked hard and my wife and children kept pushing me to far greater things.”

Winner of the Uefa European Player of the Year earlier in October, the Poland international was named Fifa Men’s Player of the Year last week, ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.

In winning the Globe Soccer Award, Lewandowski became the first Polish player or a player from a German club to win the Fifa Player of the Year award since its inception in 1991, and he is only the second player after Luka Modric in 2018 to break a 13-year Messi-Ronaldo dominance.

The past campaign was an amazing season for the Germans with Lewandowski’s stellar 2020 seeing Bayern Munich win every game in Europe, including the Champions League final against Paris St-Germain, as well as the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double at home. The German powerhouses then added the DFB Supercup and Uefa Super Cup to their collection.

Real Madrid — winners of five Champions League, four Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, four Club World Cups, seven Spanish La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey and six Supercopa in this millennium — were adjudged Club of the Century (2001-2020).

“This has been a momentous season for us. I can score goals because of my teammates. As someone coming through the system, I needed to adapt to the situation and it wasn’t easy. It was always a huge challenge. Perhaps now more than ever, we need that emotion from fans and we can only hope that everything will return to normal next year,” Lewandowski said. “If you are on the top, then we all know that staying at the top is more difficult than reaching the top. And that is going to be the goal for us next year. If I can sit at the same table as Ronaldo and Messi, then we can have dinner together perhaps. But first, I needed to win something special. The expectation now is very high, and I need to raise the bar even further. For now, I have a few days off and I am cherishing this. I am like having a dream coming true. I come from Poland and I had to find a new path and show others the way.”