It was worth the wait: Lewandowski’s journey to the summit

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2020 may not have brightened the faces of many people, but there is one person who will always remember it fondly. His name is Robert Lewandowski, the 2019/20 season was probably the biggest of his life: the Polish striker broke his own scoring record, with 55 goals in all competitions, and won every possible title with Bayern Munich: Championship, Cup, League Cup – and the cherry on top Whipped cream in the form of winning the Champions League.

But what sets Lewandowski even more apart is the story of his career. Unlike his competitors, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, “Levolsky” has not been marked since the beginning of his career as a particularly sparkling diamond. He did not star in highlights of his infancy, did not enter the notebooks of major European teams when he was a teenager. Only at the age of 24 did he really break through in the Borussia Dortmund uniform, and he only arrived at Bayern Munich when he was 26. He was not born with talent, and fame did not wait for him around the corner. He earned it, with the help of hard work – which turned it from an unpolished diamond, into the number one conqueror of world football today.

A little hard to believe today, but a decade ago – the young Polish striker, Robert Lewandowski, was on the verge of a conclusion at Blackburn Rovers. The team, then coached by Sam Allardyce, was looking for reinforcements in order to survive in the Premier League that season. Martin Glover, head of the club’s players’ search department, identified Lewandowski as the Polish Belch Poznan. How close were we to a situation where one of the greatest strikers in the world would play in a bottom team in England? The business was almost closed, the parties had already agreed on a transfer fee of £ 4 million – but then, the volcanic ash cloud arrived.

The fog that came from Iceland (and as I recall, also knocked out Barcelona’s chances of advancing to the Champions League final) disrupted flights across Europe, effectively thwarting the deal. In the summer, when the cloud was gone, Borussia Dortmund was there to jump on the bargain – and the rest, as I recall, were written in the pages of history. Lewandowski may be known today for his muscular and solid body, but in Poland he was not known for his exceptional physical fitness. In 2006, he was released from Malaga Warsaw (the club where he grew up), claiming he was “too weak”. Krzysztof Sikorski, one of his coaches at a young age, said of him: “He was very thin. His legs were like sticks, and I was always afraid that other players would just break him.”

But his genes won: Lewandowski came from a family of athletes – his father, Krzysztof, was a Polish champion in judo and also excelled in football; Yvonne, his mother, was an outstanding volleyball player, and even his older sister, Milena, played volleyball professionally. For Robert it probably took longer, but in the end it happened. Now all that remains is to ask: how?

The change came through love: in 2013, when he started his career at Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski married Anna Stachorska – a former medalist at the World Karate Championships, who was known as a sports nutritionist. Behind her are books, blogs, a successful website and more than a million and 600,000 followers on her Instagram account. After the wedding was complete, they both started working.

Along with the hard work, Stachorska built a special menu for Lewandowski, and this is what it looked like: for breakfast – oatmeal, for lunch – spaghetti with vegetables, plus beet juice with fresh spices. As snacks you can choose pancakes or brownies with tea, and for dinner – fresh fish or meat. “The most important thing about him is training and nutrition,” Stachorska said in an interview with Bild. “We decided to give up lactose and wheat flour. Sometimes, we eat a lot at once, which is not a good thing. We feel it’s too much for us.”

How much has the nutritional revolution worked? Tom Williams, from the Bleach Report, wrote in an article about Lewandowski that in Dortmund they used to call him “the body”, out of appreciation for his physical size. Nuri Shahin, who played him in the yellow-and-black uniform, said of him: “Levy had the most amazing body, he’s all muscle. It stunned the friends in the locker room.” Pep Guardiola, who coached him at Bayern Munich, described him as “the most professional player I have ever met. He constantly thinks about food, training, sleep – 24 hours a day. So he was not injured either, because he is constantly aware of these things. He knew the most important thing He is coming to football in the best physical condition. “

And Bayern Munich are certainly aware of this; Football teams do not usually extend or pay prestigious contracts to players over the age of 30, but Lewandowski has signed for another three years at the club at a particularly handsome salary. A possible reason for this lies in his history: he has played 30 games or more in each of his last ten seasons, a record broken only once, by a goalkeeper. Bayern not only see Lebandowski as a safe bet on the pitch, but also in terms of his future in the future.

The victory of the Pole is not self-evident. In an age of footballers who come almost ready from the junior divisions, star in videos even before they have been issued a driver’s license, or appear in the rumor columns even before “tearing a pair of shoes” – it represents the more grueling story. The long road, through quite a few skeptics and problems, but the one that ends in fame, tremendous achievements, and the fact that at the age of 32 – there is no greater pioneer than him on the continent. And the leg is still tilted.