Prior to the FIFA Football awards, the name of Lennart Thy would have been unfamiliar to the ears of many. But after knowing what this footballer has done, he is surely going to be winning the hearts of many!
This 26-year-old German striker, Lennart Thy, who currently plies his trade with Turkish club Büyükşehir Belediye Erzurumspor, has been awarded the FIFA Fair Play award for his noble deed back in March, while he was playing for a Dutch top-flight club, VVV-Venlo.
Lennart, had joined VVV-Venlo on loan from German Bundesliga side Weder Berman. During his time at the Dutch club, he missed a crucial game against league giants PSV Eindhoven, which created all the headlines. The reason?
It is understood that the German forward, missed the game so that he could donate his blood cells to help a leukemia patient. And much to his surprise, Lennart Thy's remarkable selflessness was rewarded by PSV Eindhoven giving him the man of the match award.
Despite his absence in VVV-Venlo's 3-0 loss against PSV, his selfless act helped raise awareness. The mascots for that particular match wore t-shirts emblazoned with the message: “Follow Lennart, become a stem cell donor.”
The fans at the Philips Stadion also couldn't help but applaud this kind gesture of Lennart. As a mark of respect, the crowd broke into applause for a whole minute early in the first half.
Thy's humble gesture, which received overwhelming support from fans and players all over the world, saw a widespread increase in stem-cell donations in the Netherlands. Speaking about how proud he was of his actions, which led to a positive effect in increased blood donations, Lennart Thy said at the FIFA Football Awards Ceremony in London:
"It's a big honor for me to be here tonight and receive this award. When I got the chance to help someone who was suffering from blood cancer, it was a matter of course - there was no other choice for me than helping him", he said.
"The best thing about the story is that thousands of new donators registered in the Netherlands - this really makes me proud."
Meanwhile, the FIFA Football awards night saw Luka Modric claim top honors. The Real Madrid playmaker beat the likes of new Juventus boy Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool star Mohammed Salah to be named the Best Men's player of the year.
It was for the first time since Brazilian midfield legend Kaka’s triumph in 2007, that had seen a player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi win an the award. However, the two arch-rivals who missed the star-studded ceremony were included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
READ: Real Madrid Players Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos And Raphael Varane Headline FIFA FIFPro World XI
Mohammed Salah, who finished third behind Ronaldo and Messi for the Best Men's player was awarded a consolation. The Egyptian picked up the FIFA Puskas award for the goal he scored against Everton.
The other individual award winners include Brazil and Orlando Pride forward Marta, who was named for The Best Women's player of the Year for a record sixth time. While Didier Deschamps and Reynald Pedro were awarded the Men's and Women's best coach respectively.