Football: Lewandowski eighth in Golden Ball contest

A striker of FC Bayern Munich and Polish national football team, Robert Lewandowski came eighth in the Golden Ball plebiscite of “France Football”.

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The results of the Golden Ball contest for 2019 were announced at aq gala in Paris. The winner was Argentinian forward of FC Barcelona Lionel Messi, followed by Dutch defender of Liverpool FC, Virgil van Dijk and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus FC.

Nearly 200 journalists from all over the world were voting for their best five of the top 30 players, pre-selected by the “France Football” magazine.

The votes are always published after the gala: The result of the jury’s vote about Lewandowski was received by Polish audience with ambivalent feelings. Although the majority of fans, journalists and experts expected that Lewandowski would not win the trophy, the eighth position is generally considered as a disappointment.

The Polish striker tweeted that he was very happy to be among the top ten players in the world. “We Poles, do not look at it objectively. I have a lot of respect towards Robert and believe that he should be at least fifth, but apparently there was something missing,” Jerzy Dudek, a former goalkeeper of Liverpool FC, Real Madrid and Polish national team told the website of the Polish public broadcaster TVP Info.

Many experts say that the fact that Lewandowski plays in the Bundesliga (German League) rather than Spanish or English leagues and that his Bayern did not succeed last season’s UEFA Champions League, did not allow him to achieve a better result, even though he scored so many goals in the second part of the year.

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“It is possible. The journalists from some exotic countries vote in this plebiscite. How many of them have access to the Bundesliga? Spanish and English leagues are much more popular. This is why I believe that the Golden Ball is not exactly a contest for the best player in the world. More like a popularity competition in which participants of Real-Barcelona matches and players of Liverpool or Manchester City have a better chance,” Jerzy Dudek said.

This was not the best position of Lewandowski in this contest. In 2015, he came in fourth. The best results of a Polish player was the third place, achieved by Kazimierz Deyna and Zbigniew Boniek in 1974 and 1982, respectively.

Not only the Golden Ball

Nevertheless, Lewandowski was given the floor at the ceremony in Paris. He was chosen to give the Yachine Trophy for the best goalkeeper of the year. Among a total of 10 nominees was Poland’s Wojciech Szczęsny of Juventus FC, but he did not win the trophy and finished in ninth place.

Lewandowski was given the honour to present the first edition of this award, named after legendary Soviet keeper Lev Yashin, to Allison Becker, the Brazilian goalkeeper of Liverpool FC.

“France Football” also awarded the best female footballer. The Golden Ball in this category was given to Megan Rapinoe of the US, known not only for leading the American national team to the gold medal of 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, but also for her activism. She is an advocate for numerous LGBT organisations, in 2012 she had her public “coming out.”

Kopa Trophy for the best young player (under the age of 21) was awarded to Dutch player Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus FC. The name of this award comes from French player with Polish origins, Raymond Kopaszewski. This was the second time this trophy was awarded, the first laureate was French young talent Kylian Mbappe.