Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski are poised to battle it out for the biggest individual awards in football over the coming weeks.
While Jorginho, Cristiano Ronaldo and N’Golo Kante are also in contention to win, it’s really starting to feel as though it’s a two-horse race between the Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain stars.
Messi finally broke his silverware duck in international football by winning the Copa America for Argentina this summer, while also ending his historic Barcelona career with another Pichichi Trophy.
Lewandowski vs Messi
Meanwhile, Lewandowski won the European Golden Shoe with an insane record of 48 goals in 40 games last season and already has 25 strikes from 19 appearances to his name in 2021/22.
As such, you just know that prizes like the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award will come down to just a few votes with Messi the favourite for the former and Lewandowski touted for the latter.
However, if you’re itching to dive straight into awards season and find out who might take home the trophy, then fear not because one of the first prestigious accolades has been announced.
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Top 10 players of 2021 named
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has revealed its pick for the best male player of 2021 with a ranking of the top 10 contenders from the winner to wooden spoon.
And it’s an early victory on the scoreboard for Lewandowski with his sensational start to 2021/22 clearly tipping the scales in his favour as he finished above Messi by a comfortable 45 points.
Ahead of France Football and FIFA’s premier prize giving ceremonies, it really is an interesting development on the awards circuit and you can check out how the full top 10 lined up below:
10. Erling Braut Haaland – 5 points
=8. Gianluigi Donnarumma – 8 points
=8. N’Golo Kante – 8 points
7. Cristiano Ronaldo – 15 points
=5. Kylian Mbappe – 20 points
=5. Mohamed Salah – 20 points
4. Kevin De Bruyne – 35 points
3. Jorginho – 40 points
2. Lionel Messi – 105 points
1. Robert Lewandowski – 150 points
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Lewandowski gets the nod
Is it just me who feels as though seventh place is a little bit harsh on Ronaldo?
Lest we forget that he won the Golden Boot in Serie A and at Euro 2020 as well as breaking the world-record for the most international goals in history, so finishing below Mbappe feels cruel.
That being said, we’re inclined to agree with IFFHS when it comes to picking Lewandowski over Messi with his outrageous goalscoring record in the last few months seeing him sneak ahead.
His trophy cabinet this year doesn’t quite compete with Messi, but we’ve got to remember that this is ultimately an individual prize and nobody has been better than Lewandowski on their own esteem.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s ‘The Best’ agree…