Alexia Putellas followed up her Ballon d’Or triumph by winning the Fifa’s Best women’s player awards for 2021, while Robert Lewandowski beat Lionel Messi to the men’s title on this occasion.
The Barcelona midfielder beat off the challenge of Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and teammate Jennifer Hermoso to win the prize. Meanwhile Lewandowski’s competition came from Mohamed Salah and Messi but the Pole was victorious, retaining the same award he won a year ago.
It was a fine night for Chelsea as they collected three awards; Emma Hayes and Thomas Tuchel won in the best coach categories, while Edouard Mendy picked up the prize for goalkeeper of the year. The Senegal international had been nominated for the award alongside Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Germany’s Manuel Neuer. Chile’s Christiane Endler won the women’s award.
Tuchel, who took over at Stamford Bridge in January 2021, won the best men’s coach after helping Chelsea to the Champions League. The German said: “It was a pretty normal day so far at the training centre, I’ve just come from training because we have a game (on Tuesday), but now you opened the envelope and said my name, it’s pretty surreal.
“I’m overwhelmed, I feel a bit uncomfortable actually. I enjoy the journey and I enjoy the club, it’s a good fit. The company on the journey is so good, so I’m grateful to have such supportive people around me, to feel so good in such a competitive club.
“We’ve lost a bit of track to Manchester City in the (Premier) League, but in other competitions we follow our goals still. We try to be the best versions of ourselves and try to compete at the highest level. We’ll try our best to fulfil our dreams.”
Hayes led Chelsea to a Women’s Super League and League Cup double, while losing in the Champions League final. “I’m completely shocked,” she said. “It’s down to the players and the fantastic people who represent my work. Ultimately, the coach is only as good as the people they have around them.
“I’ve got brilliant people at Chelsea that have helped to support the team to the place we’re at. Honestly, I’m absolutely shocked right now.”