New Jersey – Robert Lewandowski conquered almost everything during his eight years in Germany at Bayern Munich, but now he is ready for a new challenge. The 33-year-old striker joined Spanish giants Barcelona for around 45 million euros this summer and is ready to help the Catalans return to the top of the European game.
Officially introduced as a Barcelona player in Miami, Lewandowski played his first minutes with his new team in pre-season matches on American soil and is preparing for a big reception at the Camp Nou on Friday, before the first game of the La Liga season against Rayo Vallecano. On August 13th.
The Poland international has a fearsome reputation for scoring goals and has 509 goals in 676 appearances for clubs, twice winning the Golden Boot for Europe’s top scorer, and finishing second in the 2021 Ballon d’Or, while beating Bayern legend Gerd. The 49-year-old has scored the most goals scored in a Bundesliga season, with 43 goals in 34 games in the 2020-21 season.
However, his exit from Bayern Munich (for whom he scored 344 goals in 375 matches) came under a cloud as he publicly clashed with the club over his desire to move forward. Lewandowski continues to leave with legendary status, admitting his departure was surrounded by politics and wanting to remind Bayern fans of the love he had for the club for many years. But now he’s telling ESPN’s Christina Alexander, who spoke exclusively in his first interview since his move to Barcelona, that he’s ready for the next chapter in his career.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
ESPN: How did you feel in Barcelona in the first few days?
Lewandowski: Well, I must say that I am very happy to be here, to be a part of Barcelona… It’s been 10 or 12 days, here in the States, so everything was very fast and fast, but, in my experience, it’s been adapting to the team A little easier, and every day I try to adapt and be part of the team.
ESPN: How did Xavi help you adapt?
Lewandowski: Yes, it helped me a lot. The conversation between me and him is really good. We have no problem communicating. And even with my teammates, I see that they want to help me. They want to support me a lot. For me, this is very important because I see that they are open and ready to help me.
ESPN: Why the League?
Lewandowski: I’ve always dreamed of playing in the League. I know my time at Bayern was great and I will always be grateful to the players, the club and what they did for me, because I won everything with Bayern Munich, and after 12 years of playing in the Bundesliga while playing in Germany, I knew it was time to try something new. New challenge.
I can’t say bad words about my team-mates or the club – although there was some kind of politics before – but time, what you’ve done for the club in these eight years for Bayern Munich has been amazing. I’m getting bigger every season, and I know that making a decision to move elsewhere will be more difficult every year. So far it has been very difficult for me to decide to go to Barcelona because I already know what I did, my comfort zone in Bayern Munich, but for me, I was always open to something new.
I heard Barcelona wanted to sign me, and that was a sign that maybe now is the perfect time to go to Barcelona, to go to La Liga. I know I can still play for a few years at the highest level and that’s why I decided to go to Barcelona. I am very happy to be part of this team.
ESPN: What do you expect initially with the many signings we have seen this summer coming to Barcelona?
LewandowskiWe have a very strong team and are ready to think about titles. I’m always the one who thinks about winning the game, definitely scoring goals, and with the coach, Xavi, we can do that because I see what we’re going to do during the training session and how hard we’re working now in pre-season. For me, all the signings mean we’re in good shape and I’m very excited for the start of the season.
ESPN: You were talking about scoring goals and what you also want to do for Barcelona, and you mentioned that record, with Gerd Muller in the Bundesliga. How can Robert Lewandowski score this goal and take him to La Liga, and bring him to Barcelona?
Lewandowski: We have played many times in the Champions League against Spanish teams, so it is not new to me… In international football, if you are at the top, you have to be prepared for every challenge, it doesn’t matter who you play with or how hard it is. . You have to show your best, I am experienced, I am ready for this and I need this challenge to show what my La Liga game looks like. There are also more matches in the League  Compared to the German League So maybe I will have more chances to score goals.
Robert Lewandowski, the new Barcelona signing, praised Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid player, but said he was not keen on direct competition with him.
ESPN: What do you expect from the competition not only with Real Madrid but personally between you and Karim Benzema?
Lewandowski: Benzema is a great player, he showed it in the last Champions League season; What he did during matches against PSG, Chelsea or Man City. It’s really, I don’t know how many years or 10 or even 12 years in La Liga. He knows this league a lot. Even in the Champions League, he showed that he is one of the best players, and I think it is very good to see so many good strikers in LaLiga. This will definitely be more interesting to the fans.
For me, I did not want to be compared with him because for me it would be something new, I accept this, but for him it already exists [in LaLiga] Many years and he has already shown in the last year how good he is. For me, the most important thing is what we will do with the team. How will we play? How do we go from winning to winning? This is my goal.
ESPNWe know that this team has changed drastically even last year, of course, with the loss of Lionel Messi. How does that lead you to the image of wise leadership? Does this give you a chance to be the new leader on the team?
Lewandowski: Of course, this is a great opportunity to be the one who can lead on the pitch with body language, to show the players that no matter how many goals we have already scored, we can score more. To always think positive, always play, to try to do something more to push and to work harder than before.
I already see in Barcelona that there are players who are thinking about how to do more. Sometimes the words are not exactly. What you say is important, but more important is how you show your body language. What you will do, and also what you expect for yourself, which is why I am ready to be here to show my performance. I also know my teammates are ready to follow, not just following me but the way we’re going to be at the end of this season.
ESPN: How do you take this title from Real Madrid and then in the League?
Lewandowski: We certainly try to do our best. We haven’t started the season yet, but maybe in a month or two – because the race is here before the World Cup [in November] Too short – maybe after this time we can talk more about the expectations for the end of the season. But Real Madrid is sure to remain very strong; They are going to play very well, which is a big challenge for us. We have to be ready and we have to be there if we want to compete with Real Madrid.
ESPN: Robert, I want to go back to what you said, to Bayern Munich, and those last few months. So there was a little bit of political stuff going on before, before you left. Reports in Germany have suggested that you may be somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that Bayern have been eyeing Erling Haaland. Did that have anything to do with leaving, did that affect your decision?
Lewandowski: No, this has nothing to do with Erling. I am the man – even if there is nothing good for me – the truth is more important. I don’t want to talk about what exactly happened. But if the question was whether the decision to move was because of him, no, I didn’t see the problem if he joined Bayern Munich.
But some people don’t tell me the truth, they say something different. And for me it was always important to be clear, to be honest, and maybe that was the problem for a few people. And in the end I know that something is not working out well with my person too, and I knew that, well, I see and feel that maybe it’s a good time to move from Bayern Munich and join Barcelona.
I had a good relationship with my teammates, with the coaching staff, the coach, and these are all things I will miss because I had a great time there. And we were not only friends from the stadium but also something else. But in the end this chapter is over and I open a new page in my life and a new chapter in my career.
So I feel like I’m in the right place, the right place. So whatever happened in the last few weeks maybe before I left Bayern Munich, that was of course also a lot of politics. The club tried to find controversy over why I was sold to another club because before that it was difficult to explain perhaps to the fans. And I had to accept that even though there were a lot of bulls…, he said a lot about me. Not true, but in the end I learned that the fans, even in this period, are still very supportive of me.