Kylian Mbappe was named the men’s Player of the Year at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards on Monday night, with Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho among the evening's other winners.
The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward, 23, took the top honours at the 12th awards ceremony, held at the Armani Hotel.
Mbappe, a 2018 Fifa World Cup winner with France, had earlier featured alongside Bayern Munich counterpart Lewandowski in a panel discussion for the Dubai International Sports Conference, where the pair discussed innovation in football.
In winning the best men’s player award, Mbappe defeated six-time recipient Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema and Lewandowski. The French international top-scored in Ligue 1 last season with 27 goals, as PSG finished runner-up to Lille, and helped France secure the Uefa Nations League.
“It’s a big pleasure to be here again in Dubai,” Mbappe said. “First of all, I have to wish a Happy New Year to everybody here. A big pleasure to see all the big players here, big legends, big names of football.
“It is a big achievement for me. I want to say thank you to my club Paris Saint-Germain, who believed in me these past five years, even better this season. To my national team; to all the people who nobody knows who work with me, who help me a lot; to my family, they are there with me, always with me.
“It’s a great pleasure to be here. And it’s a big motivation to keep working hard and maybe come back next year and win again so many titles individually and collectively.”
Lewandowski, 33, did not leave empty-handed though: the Polish international won the inaugural [Diego] Maradona Award for best goalscorer of the year after striking 69 times for the German champions in 2021.
This month’s volley against Wolfsburg was his 43rd goal in the Bundesliga in the past 12 months, breaking Gerd Muller’s record for the most German league goals in a calendar year, which had stood since 1972.
On Monday, Lewandowski was also named TikTok fans’ player of the year – a category organisers said attracted millions of votes.
“Diego Armando Maradona, I know what happened to him last year, so that means a lot, even more to win this award,” Lewandowski said. “Because for me, as a striker, to be in the right position at the right time is always the best feeling so I know that my play, my goals, will boost my teammates. Because without my teammates, without my coaches, it would be difficult to score so many goals.
“I want to thank all my teammates, all my coaches, because they help be the best scorer this year and I hope maybe next year as well. But I know I have to work hard, even harder than this year.”
Ronaldo, meanwhile, picked up the prize for "top scorer of all-time". Earlier this month, the Portugal captain became the first player to reach 800 goals when he scored twice for Manchester United in the 3-2 victory against Arsenal in the Premier League. Last year, Ronaldo was named Globe Soccer's Player of the Century.
Speaking via recorded message, the forward, who was getting set to represent his club against Newcastle United in the English top flight on Monday night, said: “Unfortunately I could not be there tonight, but I just want to say thank you for this amazing award. I’m so proud and very happy for this achievement. Thank you guys and have a good evening. And I hope to be there next year.”
Meanwhile, Brazil great Ronaldinho collected the Player Career award for a CV that includes winning the 2002 Fifa World Cup, being twice voted Fifa Player of the Year, and lifting with Barcelona a Uefa Champions League crown and two La Liga titles.
Elsewhere, Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas won the best women’s player and Roberto Mancini scooped the award for best coach after guiding Italy to the Euro 2020 crown this summer. Manchester City's Txiki Begiristain was named sporting director of the year.
For the second time in the awards history, fans were invited to vote. Organisers said more than 15 million votes were cast from 210-plus countries and territories. Fans accounted for a 40 per cent of the votes, while a jury – made up of coaches, directors and club presidents – contributed to the remainder.