The emergence of new social networks and the expansion of television channels that broadcast the Spanish league these are two of the characteristics that illustrate what is happening with the Polish fans since the arrival of the striker Robert Lewandowski -considered the best soccer player in the history of the country- Barcelonaalthough skepticism reigns regarding what the team can generate in the next World Cup in Qatar, in which it will coincide in the group with Argentina.
All those consulted by Infobae agree in qualifying Lewandowski as “a scoring machine” and in his professionalism, seriousness, and self-improvement, and they place the Barcelona striker above the members of the generation of the Polish national team players of the 70s, when he won third place in the 1974 World Cup in Germany or was Olympic gold medal in Munich in 1972.
Adrian Bialkowski has one of the most well-known and followed podcasts by Polish fans, “9 Camp Nou” (“Nine” -“Nou”- is pronounced the same as “new” in Catalan), in which he follows the activity of Xavi Hernández’s team , is the president of the Barcelona supporters club in Lodz, with 400 members, and has been living in Catalonia for seven years. “I arrived just for the semifinals of the Champions League of the year of the Triplet, in 2015 (League, Copa del Rey and Champions under the technical direction of Luis Enrique) and I was at the Camp Nou the night that Messi left Boateng sitting against Bayern Munich,” he tells Infobae.
“We try to ensure that in each of all the Barcelona games of the year there is a member of the supporters club” and he defines himself as “culé”, and regarding the bayernagain Barcelona’s rival in this group stage of the Champions League, The expectation to see Lewandowski against his former club, in Germany, is such that “all tickets are already sold out” and that many of them will be from Polish fans. “They drove me crazy with calls from all over the country to see if I could get them a ticket,” says Bialkowski, whose wife, Marta, is the supporters’ club’s vice president.
Bialkowski is clear about the reason why Lewandowski left the goodness of Bayern, where he triumphed over eight seasons, to go to Barcelona. “For years I have been thinking of going to La Liga or the Premier League because those tournaments make you a top player in a top league, but that is not the case in the Bundesliga, in which Bayern were champions for eight years in a row. That is why (Erling) Haaland is also going to show that he is a beast at Manchester City and he left Borussia Dortmund. Beyond that there is a sporting rivalry, they have a good relationship, as was seen in the recent friendly between Barcelona and Manchester City. They both speak German and in the background, the same thing happened to them, although we believe that Haaland will end up playing in La Liga at some point”.
“That’s why I think -he insists- that as much as Haaland, Lewandowski’s problem was playing in Germany in a not so popular team, even though Bayern is popular in his country, and that’s how it’s difficult to win the big individual prizes. In that case, if they had 50-50 chances with Lionel Messi, to give an example, the Argentine had the greatest chances for playing in a team with more arrivals”.
Bialkowski defines what happens in Poland with Lewandowski as “crazy” and describes that there are “several new websites, people with YouTube channels who come to Barcelona to broadcast live everything related to their new life and he himself has just been hired to work at “Eleven Sports”, a company that also has shares at Leeds. Eleven Sports and Canal Plus share the rights to the private TV channels. “In the previous game as a visitor in San Sebastián against Real Sociedad, there were 500,000 viewers on the private channel, and between 3 and 4 million on the open channel, that is to say that ten percent of the entire Polish population watched the match and that’s incredible”, he is amazed.
Lewandowski has already found a home in Casteldefells, where Lionel Messi lived for years, and he is adapting to the circumstances, such as the theft he suffered of a watch valued at 70,000 dollars, torn from his wrist while signing autographs in the club’s sports city, to the exit of a training, although later recovered by the local police, the “Mossos d’Esquadra”. “It’s a change because in Barcelona everyone wants to touch it and take photos and in Germany people are more distant”, Bialkowski insists.
Instead, with his four goals in the first three games, the forward seems to have no problem with the tactical changes from the previous 4-2-4 Bayern to this classic 4-3-3 Barcelona. And this is what Bialkowski maintains, who recalls that during the presentation as a new Barça player, “the Poles were able to have separate questions with him and he said that in terms of systems there is nothing new for him in the world and there is nothing that can surprising at 34 years old and after having played in teams led by (Josep) Guardiola or (Jürgen) Klopp. It’s so easy for him he is a smart person on the pitch and off the pitch. He is a goal machine and so it was all his life from his first years of his career.
Such is the influence that Lewandowski achieved among his compatriots, that for Bialkowski “there is no controversy” about which He is the most important player in the history of the country. “He is the first Polish player at Barcelona and he beats everyone (Lato, Boniek, Deyna) in numbers. What he lacks are the titles in the national team, and in that sense, the one from the 70s was better and we know that this one is not going to win anything. It’s reality and it’s not his fault. It’s like what happened to Messi with Argentina. He can’t win alone.”
“The Polish national team has very good players. Worse were the ones from the 90s, when I was a child, when many times he was left out of big tournaments, be it the European Championship or the World Cup –he remembers-. Now it is a little better although there are missing players of level and there is not much hope to win the title in Qatar. The goal is to get through the group stage. Some fans, with euphoria, talk about being first in the group but for me it is impossible, being in Argentina. We have to fight with Mexico for second place.”
Bialkowski does not intend to travel to Qatar for the next World Cup but, on the contrary, will go to Argentina, where he will remain throughout the tournament “because I want to see how passion is lived there and I still believe that Messi is the best player in history. He is unique and can win everything. The relationship between him and Lewandowski looks bad in Poland because people continue to believe that the last Ballon d’Or was stolen from him, but it is not what I think, ”he warns.
Karolina Kozłowska She is a presenter for Polsat, one of the most watched TV channels in Poland, and these days she can’t keep up with the activity. Polsat has the TV rights for the Champions League but not for the Spanish League, but it can rescue videos of images from a friendly station, in exchange for those of the European tournament.
Kozlowska arrived in Barcelona two months ago and also works on social networks. “Now, with Lewandowski here, all the information has much more value,” he maintains in perfect Spanish, and acknowledges that with his fellow Barça player “I can take better advantage of the situation by recording videos, and focusing on the Polish flags at the Camp Nou, which is something unique, because we Poles really like to travel and Barcelona is a beautiful tourist destination and it’s wonderful, because you can combine visiting the city with watching Lewandowski play at the Camp Nou, and they come from all over Europe”.
It also usually presents in images a summary of what the Catalan or Madrid newspapers say about Lewandowski’s performance. “I know well that the approach of each other is not the same. Those of the Spanish capital have a more critical tone”, he accepts. He also talks a lot with the Polish fans before and after the matches.
Kozlowska rescues that Lewandowski “plays in the team that he wanted. He could have gone to Real Madrid, but he wanted to play for Barcelona, which is something that president (Joan) Laporta highlighted in the presentation at the Camp Nou, and he thanked him very much for that. I think that playing in La Liga and in one of the strongest teams makes it the greatest in the history of football in my country”he maintains.
“I can’t compare with Lato, Boniek or Deyna because they are different times than what I saw and my father or grandfather told me, so I don’t have a concrete answer for that. I only saw him, among the Polish players, at that world level. Today in Poland there are good players, but none like him, that generates stories in people, who are proud because, in addition, what transcends is that he is a great professional, ambitious but at the same time, a normal guy. He is a big star, but humble and unassuming. I think it also helps that there are now more competitions, the Internet, social networks, ”adds the journalist.
Asked about the values that stand out the most in Poland regarding the figure of Lewandowski, Kozlowska describes that “He has a great instinct to overcome and is a goal-scoring machine. It could be said that in some way he is like Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of his physical preparation and his care off the pitch, his athletic condition, but he is not similar in his character, more humble and simple. I think his arrival is very exciting for Laporta and also for the coach, Xavi Hernández, who usually likes players who only focus on football and who never generate a buzz off the pitch”.
Kozlowska also claims that if little is known about Lewandowski’s private life “It is because he is not a very open person and at the same time, he is very calm” and that what is known about the striker “is much more through his wife, Anna Lewandowska, who is more active and likes Barcelona a lot and sometimes She said on Instagram that she loved Spanish culture and that she wanted to learn Spanish and I’m sure now Catalan too. And she also said that she is happy to see children on the beach with parents and friends at any time, something that does not happen in Germany or Poland. She is an athlete, she windsurfs, she is a personal trainer and a great entrepreneur of healthy food and natural cosmetics. And besides, she is a great motivator. For Lewandowski, her family is very important: his wife, his mother, her children”.
“About the theft of the watch in training, I think he and his family know it well: it is what it is and his former teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also suffered even worse, a robbery with violence. These things could happen,” he added.
Despite the praise for the figure of the Barcelona striker, the journalist, however, is no longer so clear when analyzing what can happen in the World Cup. “Poland have a lot of good players, but they are not favourites. Lewandowski is the engine, but it is not enough. In society there is a great division, because one part is optimistic and the other is not. There is an awareness that after what happened in the last Russia 2018 tournament, the image must be changed and this is an opportunity”.
Remigiusz Poltorak, prestigious journalist with a long career, and contributor to the “Wiltuarna Polska/Sportowe Fakty” website, tells Infobae that “It can be said that the debut of Lewandowski it was sensational incredible. He gets on well with the other players but he is already one of the natural leaders of the team when it comes to another league, another culture”.
“Normally the players, even the experienced ones, need time to adapt, but in this case, for the Poles it is not a surprise that Lewandowski is already at the top of the goalscoring table, because it is said in Poland that he is a machine to score goals”, he affirms, and adds an element that seems important to him: “he is someone who usually feels good among younger people like Pedri, Ansu Fati or Gavi, with whom he can feel an example for them”.
Póltorak does not avoid a thorny issue, although a few weeks have already passed, and it is the departure of Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, now that he faces in the group stage of the Champions League. “Now it is not important and it is hardly talked about in Poland anymore, but I did not like how he left the German club. He doesn’t say that now he has more chances to win the Ballon d’Or by going to a stronger league but that’s the way it is, of course, for that he will have to win a title and I don’t think it’s that easy to win either the league or the Champions League this season. The start of the league was exceptional, but it is too early to say that the whole season will be like this and especially with the World Cup in between”, he warns.
“Regarding the World Cup, it can be said that the Polish team does not play well and does not guarantee a good result in Qatar, but for this generation, together with Szczesny or Krychowiak, it is the last chance to forget the failure in Russia and everyone knows it. very good. The game against Argentina will attract more attention, naturally, because of the Messi-Lewandowski duel, but as we know, it is the third game and that may have an importance, but it does not change the fact that Argentina is one or two levels higher today from Poland”, he concludes.
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