Lewandowski on Lisbon glory, the Ballon d'Or and a hectic season

Bayern Munich goal machine Robert Lewandowski took the Champions League trophy to BED and now he wants to win it again… there was no Ballon d’Or to cap off a perfect 2020 but Polish striker is now worried hectic season will impact 2021 trophy hunt

  • It has been some year for Bayern Munich’s goal machine Robert Lewandowski 
  • The striker was integral in the Germans’ triumph in the Champions League 
  • Lewandowski is hungry for more success with the European kings this season
  • The 32-year-old, though, is concerned about a lack of rest time for players
  • However, he keeps himself in top condition and is excited to win more trophies 

It has been a year of little sleep for Europe’s outstanding striker — and not just because his wife gave birth to their second daughter, Laura.

Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich’s goal machine, will also not forget 2020 thanks to five pieces of silverware and one night in Lisbon when he didn’t get to bed until daylight.

‘To get our hands on it was something amazing,’ Lewandowski says with a smile, as he reflects on the club’s Champions League triumph, secured with a 1-0 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain. ‘That was the night when I knew I had got the thing I had been dreaming my whole life about.

It has been an incredible year for Bayern Munich’s goalscoring machine Robert Lewandowski

The Polish hitman helped fire the Germans to their Champions League triumph in Lisbon

Lewandowski hilariously slept with the famous trophy after the win and plans to do so again

‘It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed to win it. The only thing that matters is winning it! 

‘It was a very long night of celebrations and everyone wanted the trophy. I took it with me to bed! It was in my room and, for a few hours, my trophy.’

Lewandowski has scaled new heights in these 12 months. He is the most prolific No 9 around, outscoring Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and is favourite to land FIFA’s player of the year award on December 17. But it would be wrong to paint his picture without including worry.

Footballers have not been immune to the concerns of the pandemic and Lewandowski has felt it in specific ways. At a time when he should have been able to share the joy of a new baby and outstanding professional achievement, the enforced lack of human contact has been hard.

‘It has been a big challenge to work perfectly in this situation,’ he explains. ‘It is important to meet your friends, your family. In this situation, you cannot. 

‘It is a big challenge for our mentality. It was a difficult situation, playing without fans, without atmosphere in the stadium. It wasn’t just the specific nature of football. It was also in our private life. This was something new. We didn’t want it, nobody did.

The 32-year-old has been in sensational form over the past 12 months for the Germans

His goalscoring record matches those of superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Lewandowski had a great chance of winning the Ballon d’Or had it not been cancelled this year

‘For one side, you have to be ready for football — 100 per cent. Everyone expects you in top form all the time. But we are also human, we have feelings. There is a second side to everything. I’m glad we can play football, of course. 

‘But that doesn’t stop you wanting the other things. We have to be responsible for everything. You cannot spend two weeks at home because of coronavirus.

‘I cannot be (in a social situation) and think, “OK, nothing happens”. You have to be responsible for everyone. We have to be more protective around everything we are doing when you are with the team and when you are at home. It is not easy. We just had to adapt.’ 

What comes next in the discussion is an observation that could have come from a Premier League manager. 

Everyone understands the complexities of the football calendar but to hear Lewandowski explain why season 2020-21 will be like no other carries great significance.

He was afforded a rest this week, when Bayern faced Atletico Madrid in Spain. He is also one of the most diligent athletes, constantly looking for ways to improve his fitness, diet and mental well-being with the help of his wife, Anna.

The Pole admits that the past few months have been difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic

Lewandowski believes everyone expected ‘top form’ from stars despite the unusual situation

Shortlist for FIFA’s The Best men’s award

Lewandowski is an athlete in prime physical condition — he won’t eat cake, rarely touches alcohol and his only indulgence is one or two cups of coffee a day. For him to be anxious about the log-jam of fixtures next spring, then, highlights the demands.

‘After this season when we closed in Portugal and opened the new one, with such a short time to prepare, it is very hard —very hard for the body,’ the Poland international explains. 

‘Every player, every team. It’s going to be impossible to compare this season to last year or next year.

‘This is so hard. So many games, such a hard time and then the European Championship straight away. You have to think about your body and, in March, how it will be. 

‘Will we be ready when the most important games are coming? But you are a professional footballer and you have to adapt.’

And you have no doubt he will. It remains a great shame that Lewandowski never got to test himself in the Premier League — the closest that came to happening was when Sir Alex Ferguson called him in 2012, attempting to entice him to Manchester United — but the 32-year-old’s class endures.

He would have been an odds-on favourite to win the Ballon d’Or, which was hastily cancelled in July by France Football, but there should be some form of compensation at the Best FIFA awards, where he heads a 11-man shortlist that also includes Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah.

‘Someone had to decide that this year there would be no Ballon d’Or,’ he says. ‘Maybe they decide too early because every trophy has been decided. So many players, coaches, journalists know that, for me, it was the best season.

Now the striker is concerned about the wellbeing of players after very little rest time 

Lewandowski, though, is in prime physical condition and takes care of his body at 32 years old

Despite last year’s huge success, Lewandowski is hungry for more with the European kings

‘We did what we did and it was spectacular. I’m glad everyone has seen it. These awards are something nice, amazing.

‘But I also know that every personal trophy is for the team. The team without the striker finds it difficult to work but the striker without the team doesn’t work either.’

This is true and it is why Bayern remain favourites to retain the Champions League. And before he logs off the Zoom call, we return to the topic on which we started — now with a warning.

‘We have won this trophy but it is clear once is not enough,’ he says, with a definite twinkle in his eye. 

‘We are still hungry. For sure we want to taste this feeling with the fans, in a full stadium. Maybe after this season we will have a double celebration.’ 

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