Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich’s Polish attacker, is considered by many as being amongst the best football players in the world and his stats are unbelievable. Having already scored 4 goals against Real Madrid during the 2013 Champions League semi-finals, he then did the unthinkable two years later by scoring 5 goals in only 9 minutes of play againt Wolfsburg! On 22 May 2021, he broke Gerd Müller’s mythical record goal scored in a single seaon in the Bundesliga, thus becoming a legend. Let’s take a look at the career of Robert Lewandowski, the goal-scoring machine that just can’t stop.
The rocky start of “Bobek”
Robert Lewandowski grew up in the village of Leszno in western Warsaw with his sister, Milena, and his parents, Krzysztof and Iwona, both of whom were high-level athletes and gym instructors. From a young age, Robert (then nicknamed “Bobek”) was an avid footballer and was always out kicking a ball about whatever the weather. In 1997, his father signed him up to play for Varsovia Warsaw, where he would stay for 8 years. His goal-scoring instinct and natural talent quickly caught the attention of his coaches, who could see his tremendous potential.
In 2005, a 16-year-old Robert joined Legia Warsaw, which many consider as the best club in Poland and started playing for their reserve team in the Polish Third Division. His arrival at the club was marked a most tragic event: The death of his father and mentor, Krzysztof.
His stay at Legia was blighted by injuries and the club’s expectations of him were not met. When his contract came to an end in the summer of 2006, Robert was told that despite his incredible talent, he would not get a new one and needed to find a new club. One of the reasons to justify this surprising decision was Bobek’s build, which was considered as being “too skinny”.
Later, Legia recognised that letting Lewandowski slip through their fingers was “one of the greatest mistakes in the club’s history”.
The rise of “Lewy”
Robert Lewandowski’s success story really started in 2006. Having been released by Legia Warsaw, the young striker signed for Znicz Pruszków, a club playing in Poland’s Third Division. During his first season with his new club, “Lewy” (as he was now nicknamed) started to show what he really was capable of. He ended up being the division’s top goal-scorer and helped his club get promotion to the Second Division for the first time in its history. The following season, Lewy played a large part in his team finishing in 5th position and, once more, was the leading goal-scorer.
Lewy was now getting noticed by the biggest clubs in Europe but it was Lech Poznań (a minor club on the European scene but one of the best in Poland) that snatched up the young striker in June 2008. Lewy kept the goals coming and helped his team finish third in Poland’s top flight league, which ensured the club would play in the UEFA Cup, now called the Europa League. Led by their new striker, Lech Poznań finished off the season by winning the Polish Cup and Robert was rewarded by his first call-up to the Polish national squad.
The following season enshrined Robert Lewandowski’s place in Polish football.
Not only did he again finished the season as the league’s top scorer, he also helped his club become Polish champions and thus qualify for the prestigious Champions League.
The birth of an international star
Shortly after, Robert Lewandowski was sold to German club Borussia Dortmund. Despite a complicated first season (the club won the German Bundasliga), Lewy was now about to explode on the scene.
During the 2011-2012 season, the Polish attacker helped Borussia Dortmund win both the league title and the German cup, scoring a hat-trick in the final of the latter against Bayern Munich and finishing as the top scorer of that competition.
But it is only during the following season, on 24 April 2013 to be exact, that Robert Lewandowski would become a household name for football lovers all over the world. On that day, Borussia Dortmund played against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League. During this historic match, Lewy scored 4 goals, which was something that had never been seen before.
Whilst Borussia would go on to lose the Champions League final, the club finished runners-up in the German league behind Bayern Munch and “RL9” was Bundesliga’s second highest goal-scorer.
In his last season as a Borussia player, Lewy became the German league’s leading goal-scorer for the first time and won the German Super Cup. With regards to his international career, Lewandowski was chosen to be captain of his country’s team and started being considered by his compatriots as one of the greatest Polish players ever.
Consecration of a legend
Robert Lewandowski has played for Bayern Munich since 2014, one of European greatest clubs. Without getting into too much details, he has won everything there is to win: Bundesliga, Champions League, German Cup, German Super Cup, World Club Cup and European Super Cup. He actually one all these trophies in the same season (2020)!
As well as these titles, Lewy has collected several individual awards. Since arriving in Bavaria, “Lewangoalski” has claimed 6 Bundesliga leading goal-scorer titles (of which 4 have been consecutive since 2018) and is the second greatest goal-scorer in the history of that league. Moreover, the Polish striker is equally the most capped player in the history of the Polish national team, their all-time leading goal-scorer and the third highest goal-scorer in the history of the Champions League.
On 22 September 2015, Robert Lewandowski wrote a new page of football history: On that day, he was an unwilling Bayern Munich substitute in a match against Wolfsburg. At the start of the second half of the match, Wolfsburg was leading 1-0.
The Polish sniper comes into the match and does the unthinkable: He scores 5 goals in exactly 8 minutes and 59 seconds,
which include the third, fourth and fifth quickest goals ever scored in the history of football. When interviewed about this miracle at the end of the game, Lewy laughed it off by saying: “I wish I had scored a sixth.”
In 2020, Lewandowski once more made history by being the first player in football history to be leading goal-scorer in all the competitions he competed in. That same year, he won the FIFA Player of the Year award, beating out competitors like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. What more could Polish football fans ask for with the forthcoming European Championships just around the corner…
The ideal son-in-law?
Statistics do not lie. Robert Lewandowski is a player totally out of the ordinary. Football pundits all agree that he is one of the best strikers that has ever graced the pitch. In order to reach such a level of performance, many essential ingredients needed to come together.
First of all, Lewy was properly nurtured by his family from a young age. The emotional and psychological support he got from his parents and coaches at the start of his career had, by his own admission, been particularly precious.
Today, it is his wife Anna that takes care of him. As an ex-judo champion, she keeps a watchful eye over Bobek, making sure that he sticks rigorously to the vegetal diet she thought up for him. The Lewandowskis (Robert, Anna and their daughters Klara and Laura) are real celebrities in Poland. In 2020, Forbes magazine awarded the prize of most influential celebrity in Poland to, you guess it, Robert Lewandowski.
Next, the level of discipline and hard work that RL9 puts in is remarkable: “He is the most professional player I have ever meet” said Pep Guardiolia, his ex-coach at Bayern Munch, in 2016. Indeed, if we were to compare a photo of Lewy when he was playing in Poland with a more recent snapshot, we’d see that he’s gone from being “too skinny” in 2006 to a veritable gladiator.
Finally, a key part of what has made the Polish sniper into the deadly weapon he is today is his personality. The loss of his father when he was only 16 left a mark on him: He never quits. He has many times scored in the dying seconds of important matches. Furthermore, Lewy is a real gentleman, both on the pitch and off it. Humble and cheerful, he leads a calm family life and stays well enough away from unnecessary distractions and night clubs.