Could Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski become the Bundesliga's first Best FIFA Men's Player? - © Photo by Pool/Marco Donato-FC Bayern/Pool via Getty Images
Could Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski become the Bundesliga's first Best FIFA Men's Player? - © Photo by Pool/Marco Donato-FC Bayern/Pool via Getty Images

Why Robert Lewandowski deserved this year's Best FIFA Men's Player award

The Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year following the coronavirus-enforced break in play, but the Best FIFA Football Awards did go ahead on 17 December. Robert Lewandowski won the trophy ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Here's why.

"If you look at what he's achieved, you have to consider it," said Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick when asked about his forward's case for the Ballon d'Or following Bayern's DFB Cup final win over Leverkusen. "Why shouldn't it be someone from the Bundesliga? He fulfils all the requirements."

Since its foundation in 2016, The Best FIFA Men's Player award has been won by Ronaldo twice; Messi and Luka Modric once each. All have been players for whom individual achievement goes hand-in-hand with club success. The way 2019/20 played out, you would be hard pushed to find a better candidate than Lewandowski.

Watch: All 251 of Lewandowski's goals in the Bundesliga to date!

Given he's the Bundesliga's all-time leading foreign-born goalscorer, and has been finding the net with incredible regularity since arriving in Germany in 2010 - once every 109 Bundesliga minutes over the last decade - fans could be forgiven for thinking they had already witnessed peak Lewandowski.

But Bayern's prolific Pole has just enjoyed his best-ever Bundesliga season - plundering a record 34 goals to win his fifth Torjägerkanone - fuelling his club's path to an eighth successive league title, and he netted twice to help them lift the DFB Cup.

His six goals in that competition made him the leading scorer, and he also hit 15 on Bayern's march to UEFA Champions League success - a competition best. That means he scored 55 goals in just 47 competitive games in 2019/20, a breathtaking feat no-one else in Europe's top five leagues can boast. And how about this for a stat? He is the first player ever to win a continental treble while also being the top scorer in each competition.

Watch: How Lewandowski has become the world's best No.9

Bayern won through to the last four in the Champions League after a jaw-dropping 8-2 drubbing of Messi's Barcelona in which Lewandowski bagged one, and after winning the competition for a sixth time to complete their second-ever continental treble, the volume of the voices backing his claim would be impossible to drown out.

A Bundesliga player has yet to make the podium of FIFA's now five-year-old award, whilst it has been 24 years since Germany's top flight boasted a Ballon d'Or winner with Matthias Sammer coming top of the poll while a Borussia Dortmund player in 1996.

Former Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn came third in 2001 and 2002, Franck Ribery was third after the 2012/13 treble, while Lewandowski's teammate, Manuel Neuer, also finished third in 2014 after backstopping Germany's FIFA World Cup win in Brazil.

Watch: Lewandowski and Gerd Müller compared

Another free-scoring striker, Gerd Müller, was the Bavarian juggernauts' first laureate in 1970, and he was followed by teammate Franz Beckenbauer, who won it twice in five years (1972, 1976). Current Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is one of the select group who have won back-to-back Ballons d'Or, topping the poll in 1980 and 1981.

"What I try to do is to always show the best of myself, win trophies and score more goals. But that's something that comes with collective trophies. That's the most important thing. I don't even think about the Ballon d'Or, even if, in my life, I believe that anything is possible," Lewandowski told France Football before suggesting - with words that will delight Bayern fans and bring fear to his future opposition to the title - that he could make an even stronger claim in the future.

"I'm convinced that the best period of my career is just around the corner. I know that this won't be my last contract. I want to play longer and stay in shape. I've got plenty of time to think about what comes next, but I feel really good.

"I'll be 32 in August, but that doesn't mean I feel 32! For me, age has no importance in terms of everything that I do, of my involvement in football and my life away from it. I don't just want to stay at the top of my game for the next two or three seasons, I'm looking more long-term than that."

He may have a few more seasons at the top in the tank yet, but after capping 2019/20 off with a Champions League title to go alongside his domestic double trophy haul, and having top scored in all three competitions, surely there is little argument as to who is the Best?