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From the Editor

Robert Lewandowski with his 2021 Golden Shoe trophy

At the end of 2020, voting for the World Soccer awards was easy. Bayern Munich, spearheaded by the prolific Robert Lewandowski and expertly managed by Hansi Flick, made voting in the mens categories straightforward, as did Lyon and their coach JeanLuc Vasseur in the womens categories, while Chelsea striker Pernille Harder won the inaugural Womens Player of the Year award

This year, however, it was a far more complicated at least in the mens awards with the Champions League, Copa America and European Championship all throwing up contenders in the minds of our panel

Ultimately, voters felt that Lewandowski’s extraordinary goalscoring record made him a worthy winner, ahead of double European champion Jorginho, or Lionel Messi, who finally ended his long wait for a major international trophy.

Well let you discover the rest of the winners yourself. In addition to the players, managers and teams of the year, weve also picked out the People of the Year for 2021, paying tribute to the individuals that made a mark on the world of football across this year.

Jamie Evans, Assistant Editor 




People in the news…on and off the pitch

4 In pictures
12 On the radar
13 Jim Holden Southgate the right man
14 Keir Radnedge Problems for the calendar
16 Jonathan Wilson Chelseas Lukaku conundrum
18 Tom Saintfiet AFCON guest columnist
20 Ins & Outs and obituaries


22 Uruguay Copa Libertadores final
26 Malta

AFCON 2021

30 Special Report Binationaux or dual nationality players at AFCON
34 Tournament preview
37 Schedule
38 Face to Face Cameroon manager Toni Conceicao
40 Six potential stars
42 Group guides


50 2021 Awards
54 Men’s World Player of the Year
56 Men’s World Manager & World Team of the Year
58 Women’s World Manager & World Team of the Year
59 Women’s World Player of the Year
60 People of the Year
67 Farewells


68 African Champions League


98 Teddy Sheringham


Exclusive reports from our worldwide network of correspondents

73 Comoros Heroes on the pitch, chaos off it
74 UEFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers
76 CAF 2022 World Cup qualifiers
78 CONMEBOL 2022 World Cup qualifiers
80 Asia AFC Champions League final
82 South America Copa Sudamericana final