Robert Lewandowski was recently named best men’s player at FIFA’s “Best” awards, which were held virtually from Zurich, Switzerland, last week. The honor was more than deserved by the Bayern Munich and Poland striker, helping to heal some open wounds amongst the footballing community over the Ballon d’Or being scrapped due to the coronavirus.
Ironically enough, Lewandowski recently did an interview with France Football, the same organization that tabulates the votes for the Ballon d’Or. In the interview, he compared himself to both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, talked about some of his footballing idols, and admitted to entertaining the thought of move to Manchester United earlier in his career.
Two years ago, Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann had said the he pictured himself as sitting at the same table as Messi and Ronaldo. While Girezmann’s analogy might’ve been, shall we say, ambitious, Lewandowski used the same metaphor to explain how he feels he’s his own type of player:
“Messi and Ronaldo have been sitting at the same table, at the top, for a very long time, and that’s what makes them incomparable. So, to answer your question, I can’t imagine myself next to them in this point of view,” Lewandowski said. “Afterwards, if you take the numbers for this year and even previous ones, I think I’m pretty good in terms of performance and goals scored.” He jokingly added, “Failing to be at the same table as Messi and Ronaldo, I think I can invite them to eat at mine (laughing).”
Naturally, as a striker, Lewandowski revealed that most of the players he looked up to when he was younger were strikers. Of course, there were Polish internationals that he looked up to as a youngster, but he revealed who his top three favorite strikers were. “The ones I admired were Alessandro Del Piero and Thierry Henry, even Roberto Baggio, whom I saw playing when I was very young. But, as much as the big names, what made me dream were the big stadiums and their atmospheres...”
One of the greatest things about Lewandowski is that just when you think he can’t get any better, he does. The Polish ace is coming off of the best season of his career, scoring 34 goals in the Bundesliga, 15 in the Champions League, and 6 in the DFB-Pokal en route to securing the treble. Picking up right where he left off, he’s already scored a league best 17 goals in the Bundesliga so far this season, but he remains hungry to continue to improve.
Patience and persistence are key, he said: “I have a desire to progress all the more important as I know that my time is limited. Obviously, progress is not instantaneous. When you repeat something every day, you can only measure its effect three or six months later, not the next day. The problem is, a lot of people want what you do in invisible work to be seen immediately. Patience is an important virtue, in football as in life.”
Lewandowski also admitted that he had interest in moving to Manchester United back when he was with Borussia Dortmund. He said that a conversation with then manager Sir Alex Ferguson was partly why he was really interested in transferring there. “After my second year in Dortmund, I had a conversation with Sir Alex Ferguson. He wanted me to come to Manchester. There I was very interested. I can even say I was ready. But Dortmund didn’t want to let me go. It didn’t bother me more than that because things were going well with Borussia...” Ultimately, he wound up moving to Bayern on a free transfer and the rest is history.