UEFA awards: Lewandowski is Europe’s Footballer of the Year

Geneva (AP) – Robert Lewandowski beamed into the cameras in a chic black tuxedo and repeatedly looked in disbelief at the silver trophy in his hands.

“I am very grateful, very proud and very happy,” said the star striker of FC Bayern Munich after his freestyle for the best footballer on the continent. “When you work so hard and then get this award, that’s something very special.” The 32-year-old, who was so outstanding last season, prevailed in the election with 477 points ahead of the Belgian Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City (90) and his teammate Manuel Neuer (66).

Lewandowski thanked his triple teammates and especially his family. “Dreams can come true”, said the Pole, for whom there seem to be no more limits: top scorer in the Bundesliga (34 goals), Champions League (15) and in the DFB Cup (6), plus the Bayern triumphs in all three competitions as well as the two Supercup victories this season. The only thing missing is the possible choice for World Footballer of the Year.

“I’m really proud of the entire team, of what we’ve achieved,” said Lewandowski, who already looked relaxed and relaxed when he was voted the best striker of the past season. Next to him sat there grinning Neuer and Joshua Kimmich, who cleared the individual awards for the positions of goal and defense. The impressive dominance of FC Bayern was reflected once again in the Geneva TV studio. Successful coach Hansi Flick was named Trainer of the Year. “It was a historic evening for FC Bayern,” enthused CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“It’s a great honor, but I would never have made it without my team around,” said the 55-year-old Flick. “That was an absolutely crazy year. We did really well from the start.”

De Bruyne the consolation prize for the best midfielder, Thomas Müller and the ex-Munich Thiago were also available. Kimmich prevailed against his teammates David Alaba and Alphonso Davies.

“We have a special team and had a very special spirit in the team,” said Neuer. The Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain (1-0) was very special. “The focus was 100 percent for all of us, and for me as a goalkeeper it is important to be there in the crucial moments.” Kimmich commented on the final victory: “That was unbelievable, a big dream came true.”

Flick and Lewandowski had already won the national footballer of the year election carried out by the “Kicker” – not surprisingly. CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently praised Lewandowski as “perhaps the best professional I have seen here”. Above all, the Pole seems to get better and better with age. “When I’m in the cabin sometimes and see his upper body – he’s like Adonis. It couldn’t be better,” remarked Rummenigge.

It remains to be seen whether the star striker will win the next individual title this year. The world footballer election, which is carried out by the world association FIFA, has so far only been postponed, but not canceled.

Pernille Harder was voted Europe’s best player. National player Dzsenifer Marozsán from Champions League winner Olympique Lyon was named best midfielder. “I’m very, very happy with this trophy,” said the 28-year-old.

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