Robert Lewandowski: Too short and too thin?

Best Players, Bundesliga, Polish Players

Too short and too thin. So was the verdict of Legia Warsaw, after they had nine-year-old Robert Lewandowski on probation for a year in the youth academy. He came close to quitting football. With a top judoka as a father and a first-class volleyball player as mother, there were plenty of alternatives available in the Lewandowski household. But Robert insisted and in December 2020 he received an early crown on his career in Zurich with his election as the best player in the world by the FIFA football association. He got the award ahead of previous winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The complete guide for op strikers. That is how , Volkskrant journalist Willem Vissers describes the 55 goals that the Polish scored in the Champions League, the cup and the Bundesliga in the 2019-2020 season,. ‘Everything passes by on the conveyor belt of goals. Usually ge scores with the right foot, sometimes with the left. Often with the head. Simple touches, shots, volleys, sliders. Make space, run away, score. Yes, this is the season of Lewandowski, the striker that hardly anyone believed in.’

Like so many other top players, Lewandowski lost his father at a young age:

Vissers records a series of anecdotes about Lewandowski from Jan de Zeeuw, Leo Beenhakker’s team manager in his time as Poland’s national coach. De Zeeuw remembers Jürgen Klopp getting up from the bench after seeing Lewandowski play for 50 minutes in the Polish competition: ‘Well, that’s not good enough.’ In the end Dortmund bought him for 4 million euros, because they could not afford a more expensive striker. ‘

When Lewandowski was young, hardly anyone believed in the thin guy from Lech Poznán. ‘Did you take a shower?’ National coach Leo Beenhakker asked him in 2009 after the European Cup match Club Brugge – Lech Poznán. ‘Yes why,’ asked Lewandowski. ‘Well, I wondered because I didn’t see you running.’

Lewandowski is certainly not lazy. Like so many other top players, he lost his father at a young age: at the age of seventeen.

It’s September 22, 2015 and Bayern coach Pep Guardiola is grabs his head. Not out of despair, but out of happiness and disbelief. Against Wolfsburg, Robert Lewandowski has just scored his fifth goal in a row. That’s impressive, but even more crazy is the fact that Lewandowski scored his goals within 9 minutes. At half time, Bayern was 1-0 behind by a goal from Daniel Caligiuri. Wolfsburg has never lost a match in which Caligiuri has scored. A bad omen, but then Pep Guardiola decides to bring Lewandowski into the field, the Spanish coach still looks a bit sad at that moment.

Within six minutes, the ball comes at the feet of the Polish striker out of a scrumble: 1-1 (minute 51). The second goal, a minute later, is not exactly an easy goal. Lewandowski pulls the trigger from a distance of about twenty meters: 2-1 (minute 52). Three minutes later, he hits the post. He tries again: against the keeper. How can this be? Has the Pole just missed a big opportunity? Well no, the third time the ball come back from the pinball he hits the target: 3-1 (minute 55). Two minutes later he finishes of a cross from Costa. The grass pollen splashes all around: 4-1 (minute 57). At the stands Arjen Robben laughs in disbelief, Guardiola grabs his head, a bit too early maybe, because Lewandowski has not finished yet. He will score again three minutes later: 5-1 (minute 60). This time the cross comes from the other side, but the result is the same: Lewandowski chases the ball against the ropes with a volley: 5-1. Guardiola folds his hands devoutly over his chest, as if in adoration of Lewandowski.

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