Few players have had a career where they have improved notably with each season they have played, yet Robert Lewandowski is one such individual and the fact he was finally voted the best footballer in the world is a culmination of those years, despite the fact he freely admits that kids from Poland aren't supposed to be the best in the world.
This is an inferiority complex that Lewandowski believes is drummed into youngsters whilst they are growing up in Polish cities, there is an apparent glass ceiling for development and that the major awards are reserved for those from more well-established footballing nations.
"Kids from Poland aren't supposed to be the best in the world, when I received the award, I couldn't believe," Lewandowski told The Players' Tribune.
"Before the ceremony, I knew I'd had a great year with Bayern Munich, I knew I might win the award, perhaps I even deserved it, but in Poland we have this inferiority complex.
"We've never had anyone named the world's best player, when you are a kid you have no superstars to look to, and the scouts say things like 'he's pretty skilled... for a Polish kid', so we have this feeling that nobody is ever good enough, that none of us will make it to the top."
Yet, a return of 49 goals across the Bundesliga and Champions League in 2019/20, culminating in Bayern Munich winning the treble, has ensured Lewandowski is seen as the very top performer in the world.
"When I received the trophy, I couldn't believe it, I know people believe this is a cliché, but my life really began to flash in front of my eyes," Lewandowski added.
"I could see my first steps with the ball, my first match on a muddy pitch and all the people who had helped me get to this point.
"It was like a move, the whole drama played itself out in three acts, and I want to share this movie, because I know there's at least one kid out there right now in Poland, or another place where they don't dare to dream, who will appreciate it."
Having made the controversial move to Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund, the Polish international had to start adapting to a different culture and style of coach, but that's something which he believes has helped even further lead him to this zenith.
"I learned so much from coaches like Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and now Hansi Flick," Lewandowski described.
"Just playing for Bayern is an education experience, because the demands are so high and the club culture is so professional.
"You're forced to raise your standards and you do, so I couldn't have performed the way I have without the help from those close to me."