FIFA THE BEST
Who are the nominees for The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022?
The FIFA The Best award ceremony will take place in Zurich on 17 January with Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski and Alexia Putellas tipped to scoop the Player of the Year award.
Robert Lewandowsi will compete for the FIFA The Best 2021 Player of the Year award on Monday against Mohamed Salah and Lionel Messi, who denied him the Ballon d'Or, while Alexia Putellas is well placed for a double in the women's Player of the Year category.
The Bayern Munich striker heads into the online trophy ceremony, with the tag of firm favorite to win the award himself, a month and a half after leaving Paris as a disappointed runner-up to Leo Messi.
"You broke records and you also deserved to win the Ballon d'Or. You had an incredible season," said the Argentine from the Châtelet Theatre, on 29 November, after winning the Ballon d'Or for the seventh time.
Putellas primed for double
Spaniard Alexia Putellas starts as favorite over compatriot Jennifer Hermoso and Chelsea's Australian international Chelsea Sam Kerr with Putellas and Hermoso steering Barça to glory in the final of the last Champions League.
This is the same final trio as in the Ballon d'Or with the award going to the 27-year-old midfielder, captain of Barça after she secured an impressive treble with the Catalan side in 2021. The winner will succeed the English player Lucy Bronze who scooped the 2020 prize.
Other 'The Best' awards
Other awards to be presented at the online gala include the Puskas Goal of the Year award with Tottenham's Erik Lamela (now with Sevilla FC), Iran's Mehdi Taremi and Leverkusen's Patrik Schick competing.
Bayern stopper, Manuel Neuer, will face competition in the Best Goalkeeper category from Italian European champion Gianluigi Donnarumma and the Senegalese Edouard Mendy, winner of the Champions League with Chelsea.
In the women's category, Sarah Bouhaddi is up against Chilean Christiane Endler (ex-PSG), the Canadian Olympic champion Stephanie Labbé, now with PSG, and the German Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea).
The "Blues" also have coaches Emma Hayes and Thomas Tuchel in the running for the specific distinction for head coach award.
In the women's category, Chelsea's Hayes faces Spain's Lluis Cortés (Barcelona), and the Netherlands' Sarina Wiegman, winner in 2020 and now England's coach.
As for Tuchel, the German will compete against Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) and Roberto Mancini, European champion with the national side this summer at Euro 2020.