The Best FIFA Men’s Player award is presented to the player judged to have had the best sporting performance across the year, but also their general conduct on and off the pitch. The award is voted by the general public, media representatives, national team coaches and national team captains, with each group making up an equal 25% of the vote.
Lewandowski scooped the award for a second consecutive year, and even a quick glance at the striker’s mind-blowing numbers will show you why.
Bayern Munich’s talisman ended the year with an incredible 69 goals for his club and country, including 41 goals in just 29 appearances in the Bundesliga. That number has finally broken the 40-goal record held by Gerd Muller for a ridiculous 49 years.
The 33-year-old shows no signs of slowing down either, netting 34 times in 27 appearances across all competitions in the current season.
But things may not have turned out this way for the Polish legend if a potential transfer had materialised back in 2010. The striker was on the verge of joining Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers. No, your eyes are not deceiving you.
Long before Lewandowski made a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund and eventually Bayern Munich, the Poland captain was in the process of arranging a switch to Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers. Unfortunately for Big Sam, a force of nature would intervene in what would have been an incredible signing.
Allardyce told talkSPORT: “I went with my chief scout Martyn Glover and it was quite a trip,
“We were very impressed with the player, the chairman did a deal for about €8 million with the club and he was due to fly over.
“The ash cloud started in Iceland and all flights got cancelled, so he couldn’t get on the flight.
“We were waiting for him at Manchester airport and then a week or two later he signed for Borussia Dortmund.”
It’s almost unbelievable to imagine that Lewandowski could have transferred to Blackburn Rovers for just €8m, yet the Polish hitman himself has confirmed Big Sam’s incredible story.
Lewandowski explained: “I had the opportunity to join Blackburn, but I wanted to see how Blackburn looked, the training ground, the place I met with Sam Allardyce,
“I think it would have been fine if I had gone to Blackburn, but I would have liked to go and see the training centre, the stadium.
“I couldn’t go because of the cloud. It was the volcano. The volcano with the ash cloud.
“It was one week and nobody could fly in Europe. The flight was booked, but we couldn’t leave. It changed my life. If I had gone to Blackburn maybe I would have stayed there.”
While the potential transfer must be absolutely gutting for Allardyce to look back on, it’s hard to imagine the 33-year-old forward would have reached anywhere close to the levels he’s achieved if he had switched to Blackburn.
Judging by how the legend’s career has unfolded, the volcano was probably a blessing in disguise for Lewandowski.