The cream of the football world descended on Dubai on Monday evening to mark the 12th Dubai Globe Soccer Awards, Trend reports citing Gulf News.
It was a night of celebration, to remember a year that saw football get back on its feet after a 2020 ravaged by Covid, with the Copa America, Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics taking place in alongside national world leagues and elite competitions such as UEFA. Champions League.
While many awards were presented, all eyes were on who would win the top two awards – Male Player of the Year and Fan Player of the Year. Figures including Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Mo Salah faced serial winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai.
And it was France and Paris St-Germain star Mbappe who took home the male player of the year award. Collecting the trophy, the Frenchman said: “It is a great pleasure to be here in Dubai. It’s an honor to see such big names here. It is a great achievement for me. I would like to thank my club PSG which has always been there for me and for my national team. I want to rewrite football history and for that you have to be hungry every day. Now I’m one of the best I need to keep aiming higher every day and every year.
Polish superstar Lewandowski was thrilled to win the Fan Player of the Year award. “I want to thank everyone who voted for me and those who support me every week,” he said. “We were missed by all the fans in the stadiums last year and that is why we are working so hard now to thank you all.”
Other winners of the night included Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas for Best Player, Italy boss Roberto Mancini, who took home the Coach of the Year award, helping the Azzurri claim the Euro 2020 title in England. Italy also won the national team of the year.
Italian Juventus veteran Leonardo Bonucci was named Defender of the Year, while Cristiano Ronaldo received the Special Award for All-Time Top Scorer.
The Career Award went to Brazil, AC Milan and Barcelona star Ronaldinho. “Thank you very much for this award and happy new year everyone,” said the ever-smiling Dubai Samba star.
Lewandowski inevitably won the first Diego Maradona Best Scorer of the Year award after breaking Gerd Muller’s long-time scoring record in one Bundesliga season.
Earlier in the evening, Mbappe and Lewandowski took the time to discuss their accomplishments and future plans on stage.
French star Mbappe is still only 23 and yet has four Ligue 1 titles in France – one with Monaco and three with PSG – and also won the 2018 World Cup with France in Russia.
“I just want to win and win again,” he explained. “If you’re sleeping someone will take your place so I just always want to give my all to stay on top.”
Mbappe now plays alongside the all-time great Messi at PSG, and the youngster admits he’s still learning from the master. “He’s amazing,” Mbappe said. “Working alongside him is just great. I grew up watching him, but even now he surprises you on the training ground with a little movement. Skill and talent are always there to see. It’s an honor.
Mbappe admitted that you have to work hard and give up some things if you want to reach the top of football. “It’s hard to leave the family,” he said. “I left home when I was 12. You have to leave everything if you want to accomplish everything. But I never saw it as a real sacrifice because I’m always happy to go to training and always have. I’m not going to do a job and just take the money. I have the passion to do it everyday, watch the game, learn the game and become the best.
“We won the World Cup and winning it was amazing, but that’s in the past. We have another one coming to Qatar. We have a great team but we are humble and we want nothing more than to win it again.
“Sometimes like at Euro 2020 (France went out to Switzerland in the round of 16) you may think you’re the best and football says ‘You are a liar’ and gives you a glimpse of reality . Sometimes you need it.
Lewandowski, now 33, has no plans to slow down just yet, with many wondering if he wants an alleged transfer to Manchester City in England from Bayern in Germany before he retires. “I can play for a few more years but I haven’t thought about the next step,” he said in Dubai. “There are so many rumors in the papers – I don’t read them – but I’ll wait until the next break and see what’s good for me.”
Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, honored the winners, while Mattar Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, participated in the award ceremony. Saeed Hareb, secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council and Aref Al Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, were also in attendance.
All-time top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Maradona Prize: Robert Lewandowski (Poland and Bayern Munich)
Fan Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Poland and Bayern Munich)
Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)
Player of the year: France Kylian Mbappe (France and PSG)
Player of the year: Alexia Putellas (Spain and Barcelona)
Player Career Award: Ronaldinho
Club of the Year: Chelsea
National Team of the Year: Italy
Agent of the year: Federico Pastorello