Robert Lewandowski has told bundesliga.com winning the The Best FIFA Men's Player 2021 award only serves to sharpen his unswerving focus on scoring more goals and winning more trophies with Bayern Munich.
The 33-year-old enjoyed a stunning year, breaking Gerd Müller's near half-century-old record for goals in a single Bundesliga season and also calendar year, as well as helping Bayern to a ninth successive league title.
It was his seventh Bundesliga success with the Bavarian giants and his ninth since arriving at Borussia Dortmund in 2010. He also won the Ballon d'Or Striker of the Year award and the European Golden Shoe as the continent's leading marksman, but the Poland international is not one to rest on his laurels despite the deluge of accolades.
bundesliga.com: What does it mean to you to have been named the The Best FIFA Men's Player for 2021?
Robert Lewandowski: "First of all, thank you very much. I have to say that it is a huge honour and I'm very proud of this award. Because everything that I did and that I'm doing makes me proud. And I'm very happy to win these kinds of awards. Because these awards belong also to the team, because we are all together as one."
Watch: Lewandowski - Simply the best
bundesliga.com: In what way does such an award motivate you to continue bringing out the best in yourself?
Lewandowski: "If you love this sport, if you love this game, for me as a player, it's always easier and better to be motivated for the next step. It doesn't matter how many games you have won or how many awards you win. For me, it's more important how many games are still to be won, or how many titles are still to be won. And this is the difference. And even after awards, even after the next title, it makes me more motivated for the next win."
bundesliga.com: How important do you think this title is for the Bundesliga as a league?
Lewandowski: "I think that every award also means a lot for the league, for the team as well. Because we are playing as a team during the game, during the season. And all these individual awards are also important for the club. Because I think that if you not only get trophies with the team - because they are the most important - but also these kinds of awards, it means that you did good work. And so many people are talking about these awards, talking about these titles, so it is good not only for me but all the club and the whole league as well."
bundesliga.com: Manuel Neuer was also shortlisted for the World XI and best goalkeeper. How important is Manuel's backing still for the whole team?
Lewandowski: "Yeah, he's a great goalkeeper. Not only a great goalkeeper but he's a great man. It doesn't matter how old he is, he still shows that he's the best. Even during training sessions, for me he's the competition, I see it as a challenge to score goals against him. And also because of him I can be better. Because if you have the best goalkeeper in front of you in training sessions, the next challenge, the next step is to find the solution."
bundesliga.com: On social media, you gave us a nice insight into your family life when you made your daughter a pigtail with a hoover. How did that come about?
Lewandowski: "That idea was one I saw in some video a few months ago, on the Internet of course, and I know sometimes in the morning I don't have so much time with my daughters to try to give them new hairstyles or something like that. And I asked her if she would be happy if we could try doing it like that. And at the beginning, she was like: 'OK, but I'm not sure'. But after she loved it. She was so happy because of this technique, this style. And for me this was an easy job for the next day to try to do the hairstyle. So for both of us I think it was nice, and it was nice to spend time together as well."
bundesliga.com: One more thing about your family, you once said you used to have to do many sports because your parents wanted you to. Why did they want you to play more than football?
Lewandowski: "Yeah, my parents were teachers of physical education. My father was in my class so every time when I went for P.E., I expected that maybe we were going to play football. But no. At that time, I didn't understand why we were playing other sports like basketball, handball, volleyball and a lot of gymnastics as well. Because I only wanted to play football. But later I understood that other sports make me more flexible. And different movements as well. Not only the typical movements of football players, and I see even now the difference between me and other players because my body is more flexible. That's why I did a lot of other sports, not only typical football moves. Now I can be thankful. I want to say thank you to my dad that at that time, I didn't only play football."
bundesliga.com: One of the highlights of last season was certainly your 41st goal for the Bundesliga goal record. Do you still have it in your mind's eye, and can you tell us again what happened before and after the goal was scored?
Lewandowski: "Of course I have still this moment, this whole game, in my head. Because I remember exactly that during the whole game I couldn't score this last goal, the 41st goal. I tried to score with the left, right, again left, again right, and I couldn't score. But other players were scoring easily. But in that moment, the last minute, the last few seconds, I knew that I had to be ready, that the situation was coming. I think Leroy Sane tried to score from distance, from 20 metres, something like that. And I felt that the moment had come. I knew that it wasn't offside, that the goalkeeper had made a small mistake, and I have to be in the right place at the right moment. And after that, when I scored this goal, I didn't exactly know what it meant but I was so happy. That the impossible is possible. A legendary record - to do it means a lot for me and I was so, so happy after this goal. And I didn't believe that I had done it."
Watch: All 41 of Robert Lewandowski's record-breaking Bundesliga goals
bundesliga.com: Has anything changed in the way you are perceived since then? From whom, perhaps outside football, have you received recognition for this?
Lewandowski: "For this record? This record of Gerd Müller. For 49 years, nobody got close to this record. And because of him, I could set a new record. Because without him it would have been difficult. Because he showed just how high a quality of performance you can achieve in the Bundesliga. But a few years ago I thought that it would be impossible to do it like he did it at that time. And after 49 years, I did it. So for me that was the time. And this record is so amazing and it's something special because of him as well. Even now, as I'm thinking about this, it makes me proud, makes me happy, because I didn't dream about such a huge record in the Bundesliga. And I did it. All the support I got this season and the last year as well means a lot to me. Because I knew it would not be easy after my injury as well. I thought maybe it was impossible to score so many goals, to break this record. But after, when I came back, I knew that I had to work hard and still believe that it was possible."
bundesliga.com: With 23 goals in 19 games, you are looking good to improve your own record. Does this thought spur you on even more?
Lewandowski: "Yeah, this season, if you think that it was 41 goals in 29 games. This is also for me like: 'Wow, in only 29 games, you scored 41 goals. So what is it going to be if you play 34 games with the same rate of goals.' For sure, this kind of season can happen maybe once, maybe twice if you are lucky and you have a good performance as well. But I always try to do my best, I am always trying to keep this high level of quality. But in the end, all records mean something special for me, something extra. But I will always think about my team, about winning the title with my team."
Watch: Lewandowski brought up 300 Bundesliga goals with a hat-trick at Cologne
bundesliga.com: We noticed something in the game against Cologne: You are a master at not getting caught offside. Your timing is incredibly good. Did that come with experience or do you work on that specifically? How did that develop?
Lewandowski: "If you play football for 25 years, you immediately know that this time wasn't offside because I saw the line of the defender. I wasn't focussed only on the ball; I was also focussed on the line of the defender. And I knew that I was not in an offside position. For the striker in the box, you have to not only think fast, but you have to see quicker than your opponent as well. And this situation, I knew it was not offside, the goal was good, because the movement between me and the defender was perfectly timed with the pass from Thomas [Müller]. That's why I knew - my eyes are fast enough to see the line of offside. And this situation was exactly the same."
bundesliga.com: You are only the second player ever to break the 300-goal mark. What does that mean to you?
Lewandowski: "I heard for the first time after the game that I had scored 300 goals in the Bundesliga. So it's always better to get this information after the game, not before. Because you mustn't think too much about this. But it makes me proud, these kinds of numbers, 300 is something amazing, something special. Only two players have scored so many goals and I am one of them. Patience is also important in this record. But for sure, it's easier if the team plays well and you have so many chances to score two goals. But 300 is already a nice number and maybe not yet, but maybe later, I can imagine what it means exactly. Now I can be happy with my performance for sure."
Watch: The evolution of Lewandowski
bundesliga.com: Only 65 to Gerd Müller's record…
Lewandowski: "Not 'only', still 65. But I don't think about this too much. It's a long way before I get close to this record and even now I have to be more focussed on this season, on the next game. Not what needs to happen for the next 65 goals. It's too far away. First, the next game or the next month, weeks - not the next few years."
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