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Insatiable Robert Lewandowski now has stats to rival Messi and Ronaldo | Robert Lewandowski

One all the time thought that going previous Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the summit of particular person achievement would require a unique strategy, and a unique awarding standards. Nobody might match their freakish numbers, and a brand new age would recognise one thing else – Luka Modric-esque artistry, or the type of defensive mastery produced by peak Virgil van Dijk, for instance.

Essentially the most exceptional side of Robert Lewandowski’s rise to the summit of the world recreation, then, is that he has accomplished so by placing up chilly, arduous figures that evaluate with the 2 best of the previous decade or so. Whether it is felt that the game’s particular person awards needs to be justified by workforce conquests – and February’s Membership World Cup win meant Bayern turned solely the second membership, after Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, to rack up a sextuple – then Lewandowski’s regularly climbing requirements on the age of 33 made a fairly compelling solo case for recognition.

On a purely particular person degree, beating Gerd Müller’s report for essentially the most objectives by a single participant in a Bundesliga season was the excessive level. In early January, we knew it was on as he surpassed Müller’s Hinrunde report for the quantity of objectives scored within the first half of the Bundesliga marketing campaign – Lewandowski had 21, in contrast to Müller’s 20 from 1968-69. Quick ahead to Might and his final aim of the season with nearly the final kick of the Bundesliga marketing campaign, towards Augsburg, noticed him eclipse Müller’s tally of 40 from 1971-72 along with his forty first, within the nick of time. It was wildly celebrated, and an impressive second that exposed simply how a lot this meant to a publicly modest man.

Within the period of Messi and Ronaldo we’ve got change into nearly numb to statistical excellence. But Lewandowski has entered the identical realm as these two, the place new milestones are required to discover a manner to describe his brilliance, as a result of we’ve run out of superlatives. There have been so many throughout 2021 – essentially the most consecutive video games scoring within the Bundesliga, scoring in essentially the most dwelling video games in a row, scoring in 9 straight Champions League video games in a number of seasons, with going previous Klaus Fischer into second on the Bundesliga’s all-time checklist and taking Raúl’s third place within the Champions League goalscoring desk dotted in-between.

Robert Lewandowski topped the Bundesliga scoring charts and broke Gerd Müller’s record tally with 41 goals.
Robert Lewandowski topped the Bundesliga scoring charts and broke Gerd Müller’s report tally with 41 objectives. {Photograph}: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

The Müller season report actually mattered, although. Partly as a result of it was Müller, after all, and Lewandowski all the time confirmed his respect to the nice man, revealing a T-shirt with Müller’s picture on after equalling the report at Freiburg and spending time with Müller’s spouse, Uschi, to let her know his admiration for her husband earlier than his dying in August.

It was partly, too, due to the sheer scale of Müller’s achievement almost 50 years in the past. If we’re desensitised to massive numbers at elite degree as of late, this by no means prolonged to Der Bomber’s season report and its standing in Germany. Most German soccer followers and journalists merely thought it might by no means be bettered. Lewandowski’s achievement in doing so is rightly recognised as genuinely exceptional within the nation that has been his dwelling for greater than a decade.

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It wasn’t all plain crusing. That knee harm he sustained in Poland’s March win over Andorra (he scored twice earlier than his night time was curtailed, naturally) in all probability ended up wrecking his shot on the Ballon d’Or, maintaining him out of each legs of the Champions League quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain and making all of the distinction, as a Bayern aspect that had been injury-hit however superior for a lot of tie had been agonisingly eradicated on away objectives. Accidents are part of any match however the sheer insatiable drive of Lewandowski meant that the story of final 12 months’s Champions League wouldn’t be full with out flagging his absence, when his health might have additional garlanded Hansi Flick’s superb spell in cost.

Now established on the rostrum within the competitors’s all-time scoring chart behind the massive two, Lewandowski’s present fettle – bettering, slightly than merely sustaining – and his whole (82) suggests that he’s extra seemingly than not to change into the third participant to go 100 Champions League objectives, which one fancies his possibilities of managing at some stage subsequent season if little modifications. Even Müller’s Bundesliga report whole of 365 – one other presumed insurmountable – isn’t off the desk on the present lick (he’s on 296), ought to he resolve to end his profession in Munich.

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Lewandowski’s all-round recreation stays formidable; he relishes bodily fight with opposition defenders as a lot as he ever did – and is even higher outfitted for it as of late, with considerably extra muscle than when he arrived in Dortmund in 2010. As he ushered in December in time-honoured style by making his former membership endure in Der Klassiker (after that newest win on his return to Westfalen, he has scored 22 in 15 towards his former employers within the Bundesliga alone – and has celebrated all of them), we had been provided a reminder that there isn’t any extra harmful Lewandowski than a defiant one. After a 12 months through which he revealed himself as extra like Messi or Ronaldo than we thought, he may very well be motivated to even higher heights in 2022 after this winter’s Ballon d’Or snub.

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