Lewandowski: The ultimate goal machine Barca need in post-Messi era

 

Robert Lewandowski of FC Barcelona warms up before a preseason friendly against Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Nearly two months after Robert Lewandowski stunned the football world to publicly declare that his "story is over" at Bayern Munich, the German juggernaut finally granted the Polish striker his wish. 

Barcelona released a statement on Tuesday night confirming that the club have signed the 33-year-old on a four-year contract worth 50 million euro ($51m).  

"I'm finally here. I'm delighted to be at Barca," Lewandowski, who had a buyout clause of 500m euros, told the Spanish giants' official website. "The last few days have been very long, but the deal is done and now I can focus on a new chapter and challenge in my life. 

"I've always wanted to play in La Liga and for the big clubs. I'm here to help Barca get back to the top and win as many titles as possible."

Lewandowski is Barcelona's fourth signing this summer following Cote d'Ivoire midfielder Franck Kessie, Denmark defender Andreas Christensen and Brazil winger Raphinha. Considering his incredible goal-scoring record and eight trophy-laden years at Bayern, Lewandowski could end up as Barca's most important additions in recent history. 

Since Lionel Messi left the Spanish giants for Paris Saint-Germain last August, Xavi Hernandez's side have struggled to fill the void left behind by the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.  

Without their greatest-ever talisman, Barcelona failed to earn any silverware in the 2021/22 season. They were humiliated in the Europa League by Frankfurt, as well as failing to dethrone Real Madrid in La Liga and also stunned in the Copa Del Rey.

However, though Messi still remains an irreplaceable presence for Barca fans, Lewandowski has what it takes to become the club's next reliable goalscorer and much-needed contributor to La Blaugrana's struggling attack. 

The Poland captain has shown no sign of slowing down despite his advancing years. He finished last season as Bundesliga's top scorer for the seventh time in his career and equaled the late German legend Gerd Muller's record by notching up 41 goals in a single league campaign. 

Since arriving on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, Lewandowski scored 344 times in 374 games for Bayern and won the league in all eight of his seasons. It's worth noting that during the same time frame, Messi has scored 329 league goals, while Cristiano Ronaldo netted 323 club goals. 

It says a lot about Lewandowski's sensational consistency that he has managed to outscore two of the most accomplished goal machines in history between 2014 and 2022. 

On top of that, Lewandowski rarely missed a game due to injuries or fatigue. He played 47 games for Bayern per season on average. In an era in which the game is played at a blistering pace and with fixture congestion the number one concern for players, Lewandowski's indefatigability is a marvel to behold. 

"He's the most professional player I've ever met," Former Bayern manager Pep Guardiola  once heaped praise on Lewandowski. "In his head, he thinks about the right food, sleep and training, 24 hours a day. He's always there, never injured, because he focuses on these things. He always knows what is important to be in the best condition."

If the robot-like Lewandowski can maintain his unrelenting high standards at Camp Nou, it's only a matter of time before Barcelona once again becomes a force to be reckoned with and restore their former glory.

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