FIFA has been granted the Best Player of the Year title since 1991. The award was co-sponsored by FIFA and the French magazine Ballon d'Or from 2010 until 2015. However, this prize has been presented only by football's highest governing body since 2016. The Argentine sensation Lionel Messi has won it six times and has been nominated for the year 2021. Messi is the favorite to win the coveted award for a record seventh time, and he will compete in the final voting against two other finalists, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah. Let's take a look at how each of the nominees fared in FIFA Men's Player of the Year title 2021.
The Finalists for the FIFA Men’s Player 2021 Award
Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, and Mohamed Salah all have excelled for their respective clubs and countries in the last year. Therefore, they have been nominated for the best player of the year award. The virtual awards ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 17th. Let's see how they performed in the year 2021.
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona/PSG)
Silverware: Copa America 2021, Copa Del Ray 2021
Lionel Messi was exceptional for Argentina's national team in the Copa America 2021, helping them win the trophy for the first time in 28 years. Messi scored four goals and assisted on five others in the tournament. It was Messi's first-ever international trophy with Argentina.
Apart from his contributions to the Argentina national team, Messi also helped FC Barcelona finish in the top three of La Liga in the 2020/2021 season and win the Copa Del Rey. Messi joined PSG in the 2021 summer transfer window and has already made an impact on his new team in the UEFA Champions League. So, Lionel Messi is the frontrunner to win the FIFA Men's Player 2021 Award.
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich)
Silverware: Bundesliga 2021, DFL-Supercup 2021
Robert Lewandowski edged Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the FIFA Men's Player of the Year award for 2020 in the final voting. He enjoyed another fantastic season with FC Bayern Munich in Germany. Lewandowski not only helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga in 2021, but he also beat Gerd Muller's record for most goals in a single season.
Lewandowski had the most goals in a single season with 41 in the 2020/2021 season. He had a decent tournament for Poland at EURO 2020, but he couldn't help his team advance to the knockout stage. No one can deny Lewandowski's contribution to Bayern Munich, and he has rightfully earned a spot among the top three contenders.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)
Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has been in superb form since the start of the 2021/2022 season. He has 23 goals in 26 games so far this season. Many experts believe he is the finest forward in the world right now. Salah's outstanding play has not gone unnoticed by football experts, despite the fact that he did not win any trophies with his club or country last year. Therefore, Mohamed Salah is a deserving candidate for the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2021 Award.
Lionel Messi will be slightly ahead of the other two candidates to win the FIFA Men's Player of the Year title 2021 after his amazing performance with Argentina's national team. Messi was the most valuable member of Argentina's national side during the Copa America in 2021. Meanwhile, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has been the star player for Bayern Munich last season. On the other hand, Mohamed Salah has been the driving force behind Liverpool's forward line for the past two seasons. Therefore, selecting the final winner will be challenging, but the honor will hopefully go to the most deserving candidate.