Robert Lewandowski is the only possible option to be named the world’s best player this year after his “sensational” performances for Bayern Munich, says former midfielder Friedhelm Funkel.
The 32-year-old has scored 55 times in 46 appearances this season to help fire the Bavarian outfit to the Champions League final as well as Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal success.
This year’s Ballon d’Or award has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, while FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony, originally scheduled for September, was postponed in May.
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Regardless, ex-Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin manager Funkel is convinced that Lewandowski has been by far the best player on the planet this season, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in his dust.
“Yes, there are no two ways about it. Lewandowski’s performance in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League this season has been sensational,” he told Sky Sport.
“There is no one this year who has even come close to achieving what Lewandowski has shown. He scored many, many goals, but also assisted a lot of goals. He has also become an absolute team player, but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring goals. Lewandowski is predestined to become the world player of the year.
“Ronaldo was eliminated early [from the Champions League], Messi was eliminated early, Messi also did not become a champion in Spain. There was no European Championship or World Cup, so the Champions League has to come into focus and Lewandowski is an outstanding player, the outstanding player.”
Lewandowski will come up against Brazil star Neymar when Bayern face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final on Sunday.
But even the PSG attacker cannot come close to Lewandowski’s quality at the moment, says Funkel.
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“Neymar is also a world-class player. But this consistency, which Lewandowski has shown over a whole year, cannot be seen in Neymar. He’s also an extraordinary – I would almost say – artist,” he added.
“What bothers me about Neymar, however, are his dramatics. As soon as he is touched, he goes down, makes drama on the pitch to impress the referee, to shout for fouls. That’s not the fine English way, no other player does it like him.
“Lewandowski is completely different, who isn’t easily knocked over or let himself be kicked over or dives to provoke something. None of that is worthy of a world football star. That’s why there is really only Lewandowski for me this year and, for the reasons described, not Neymar.”
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