In a new interview with Sport Bild, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski revealed something interesting about himself. We’ve always known that the Polish international striker is a physical beast, with fitness levels that put his contemporaries to shame. However, there may be more to it than simple fitness — Lewandowski might actually be younger than he looks.
Speaking about his incredible form this season, the striker was asked what he had changed to make his form even better. Lewandowski replied,
A good preseason with additional individual training was definitely a key. I moreover now know my body perfectly. I know when I can do even more [and] when I have to lay off a bit. It might say in my passport “Robert Lewandowski, age 31,” but that’s not how I feel. My best time is just starting now and hopefully lasts for several years. The best is yet to come, and I’m not just saying that.
That obviously made Sport Bild’s Tobias Altschäffl raise his eyebrows. “What do you mean?” he followed up. Lewandowski:
My whole life I was a late bloomer. I grew relatively late, always took the next step in my development with some delay. I was always two or three years behind. The number 31 thus is not simply 31 with me.
Altschäffl: “That means, Robert Lewandowski is actually only 29?” Lewandowski:
...or even younger [laughing]! I took a test with a professor about my true biological age. It came out that I had to be significantly younger than 31.
In the rushed careers of professional soccer players, three years’ difference — or more — feels like an eternity and raises very interesting questions. Just this past August, Bayern Munich rewarded Lewandowski with a two-year contract extension, tying him to the club until 2023. In light of his white-hot form, that looks like a prescient move, even though it broke with Bayern’s usual custom of granting only one-year extensions to players over 30.
If Lewandowski continues to maintain that level of performance, could he and Bayern continue to collaborate even beyond? Lewandowski is doing everything in his power to ensure that he lives up to his potential. That includes working with a sleep coach. He said,
There were two or three sessions where we met. It goes over some details as to how I can regenerate better.
For example, that there is no source of light in the room at all. We even discussed in which position I sleep best. Since I’m right-handed and my right foot is stronger, it’s better for me to sleep on my left side. I’m trying to put that into practice, but it’s obviously hard to implement it one-to-one.
That sounds like Cristiano Ronaldo levels of dedication — proving that Lewandowski’s Ronaldo-esque form this season is no coincidence. If Lewandowski really feels like he’s 29, as he suggests, then, just like Ronaldo, his best seasons may be ahead of him. Some of CR7’s most productive seasons came after he turned 30, including three of his four Champions League titles for Real Madrid.
Will Bayern experience something similar with Lewy? We really hope so. Imagine if Lewandowski can keep going strong well into the future, until he’s 36 or 37 years old! There’s no reason he can’t — Franck Ribery had injury problems throughout his career, and he’s still tearing it up for Fiorentina in Serie A. Maybe Lewandowski will be the next Claudio Pizzaro — a freakishly youthful player who defies conventions regarding age.
Whatever happens, we are currently watching a man in the form of his life, and we should enjoy it while it lasts. Strikers like Robert Lewandowski are rare, even for a club like Bayern Munich, and his goals will be talked about for a long time.