Football News

How every major captain voted at The Best FIFA Awards 2021, as Messi snubs Lewandowski despite Ballon d’Or comments

By Ben Green

Published: 20:47, 17 January 2022

Robert Lewandowski has been named the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2021 after retaining his crown.

The prolific Pole set a new record for most Bundesliga goals scored in a calendar year after bagging his 43rd last month, surpassing Gerd Muller’s tally in 1972.

Incredibly, Lewandowski has netted 116 goals in 103 games for club and country since the start of 2020 and becomes only the second player to win this award in back-to-back years, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016 and 2017.

And as is customary, FIFA have released a list of how each national team coach, captain and selected journalists voted, with some very interesting choices from a host of the biggest names in the sport, several of whom opted to snub eventual winner Lewandowski.

The Polish captain was considered unlucky not to be awarded 2021’s Ballon d’Or after he appeared a shoo-in to seal the 2020 edition, which was ultimately abandoned — a notion even back up by Lionel Messi, who sealed a record seventh award in November’s ceremony.

After receiving his award, Messi said: “I’d like to mention Robert, it’s been a real honour to compete with him. Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year. I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or, you deserved it.”

Despite his comments only a few months ago, Messi completely shunned Lewandowski for his top three as captain of Argentina, instead selecting PSG team-mates Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and even an old El Clasico rival Karim Benzema.

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Roberto Lewandowski, for his part as Poland skipper, did select Lionel Messi as his second pick, with Jorginho getting his nod as last year’s Best Player, while Cristiano Ronaldo completed his list.

There were a number of other interesting choices, including David Alaba choosing former Bayern teammate Lewandowski over current Real teammate Benzema, while Mohamed Salah went with Jorginho as his top pick, and Cristiano Ronaldo opted for two Chelsea players.

Read on below for a list of some of the more notable captain’s picks.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player

National captain Player First vote Second vote Third vote
Argentina Lionel Messi Neymar Kylian Mbappe Karim Benzema
Austria David Alaba Robert Lewandowski Karim Benzema Jorginho
Brazil Thiago Silva Neymar Robert Lewandowski Jorginho
Croatia Luka Modric Karim Benzema Jorginho Robert Lewandowski
Egypt Mohamed Salah Jorginho Lionel Messi Robert Lewandowski
England Harry Kane Robert Lewandowski Lionel Messi N’Golo Kante
France Hugo Lloris Karim Benzema Kylian Mbappe N’Golo Kante
South Korea Heung Min Son Robert Lewandowski Lionel Messi N’Golo Kante
The Netherlands Virgil van Dijk Mohamed Salah Robert Lewandowski N’Golo Kante
Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo Robert Lewandowski N’Golo Kante Jorginho
Poland Robert Lewandowski Jorginho Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo