NEW JERSEY. Robert Lewandowski conquered almost everything in 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 this summer for around €45m and is poised to help the Catalan side return to the top of the European game.

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Lewandowski has been officially introduced as a Barcelona player in Miami, has played his first minutes for his new club in pre-season matches on US soil and is gearing up for a big reception at the Camp Nou on Friday ahead of the first game of the La Liga season against Rayo Vallecano. August 13th.

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The Polish footballer has an intimidating reputation as a goalscorer and has scored 509 goals in 676 club matches, won the European Top Scorer Golden Boot twice and finished second in the 2021 Ballon d’Or by beating Bayern legend Gerd. Müller’s 49-year record for most goals scored in a Bundesliga season: 43 goals in 34 matches in the 2020–21 season.

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However, his departure from Bayern (for whom he scored 344 goals in 375 appearances) was overshadowed as he took a public stand against the club due to his desire to move on. Still a legendary figure, Lewandowski admits his departure was surrounded by politics and wants to remind Bayern fans of the love he has had for the club for so many years. But now he’s telling Sportzshala’s Christina Alexander, speaking exclusively in his first interview since moving to Barcelona, ​​that he’s ready for the next chapter of his career.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

Broadcast of the full interview on YouTube

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Sportzshala: How did you feel in Barcelona in those early days?

Lewandowski: Well, I have to say that I’m very happy to be here, to be part of Barcelona… It’s been 10 or 12 days here in the US, so everything was very fast and fast, but, with my experience, it’s a little easier to adapt in the team, and every day I try to adapt and be part of the team.

Sportzshala: How did Xavi help you adapt?

LewandowskiA: Yes, he helped me a lot. The conversation between me and him is really good. We don’t have communication problems. And even with my teammates, I see that they want to help me; they really want to support me. This is very important for me, because I see that they are open and ready to help me.

Sportzshala: Why La Liga?

Lewandowski: I have always dreamed of playing in La Liga. I know my time in Bayern Munich was amazing and I will always be grateful to the guys, the club for what they did for me, because I won everything with Bayern Munich, and after 12 years of playing in the Bundesliga, playing in Germany, I knew it was time to try something new. New challenge.

I can’t say anything bad about my teammates or the club, although there used to be some sort of politics, but the time I made for the club in those eight years at Bayern Munich was amazing. I am growing up with each season and I know that deciding to move somewhere every year will be more and more difficult. Even now it was very difficult to decide to go to Barcelona, ​​because I know what I was doing, I already had a comfort zone in Bayern Munich, but I was always open to something new.

I heard that Barcelona wanted to sign me and it was a sign that maybe now is the right time to move to Barcelona, ​​to La Liga. I know that I can play at the highest level for a few more years, so I decided to go to Barcelona. I am very happy to be part of this team.

Sportzshala: What do you expect from so many transfers that we have seen this summer at Barcelona?

Lewandowski: We have a very strong team and we are ready to think about titles. I’m always the guy who thinks about winning the game, scoring goals of course, and with Coach Xavi we can do that because I can see what we’re doing in practice and how hard we’re working now. preseason. So for me, all the signings mean that we are doing well and I am very happy to start the season.

Sportzshala: You talked about goals scored and what you want to do for Barcelona and I mentioned this record with Gerd Müller in the Bundesliga. How is Robert Lewandowski going to score that goal and bring it to La Liga, to Barcelona?

Lewandowski: We’ve played so many times in the Champions League against Spanish teams, so it’s nothing new to me… In international football, if you’re at the top, you have to be ready for any challenge, it doesn’t matter. who you are playing against or how difficult it will be. You have to show your best side and I’m experienced, I’m ready for that and I need this challenge to show how my game looks in La Liga. There are also more games in La Liga [38] compared to the Bundesliga [34]so maybe I’ll have even more chances to score a goal.

Sportzshala: What do you expect from the rivalry not only with Real Madrid, but also personally between yourself and Karim Benzema?

LewandowskiBenzema is an amazing player, he showed it last season in the Champions League; what he did during games against PSG, Chelsea or Manchester City. He’s already, I don’t know how old, 10 or even 12 years in La Liga. He knows this league well. Even in the Champions League he showed that he is one of the best players and I think it’s great to see so many good strikers in La Liga. Surely it will be more interesting for the fans.

For me, I didn’t want to be compared with him, because for me it will be something new, and I accept it, but for him he is already here [in LaLiga] many years, and already last year he showed how good he is. For me it will be more important what we will do with the team. How will we play? How can we go from victory to victory? It is my goal.

Sportzshala: We know that this is a team that has changed a lot even in the last year, of course, after the loss of Lionel Messi. How does this lead you to leadership? Does it give you the opportunity to become a new leader in the team?

Lewandowski: Of course, this is a great opportunity to be a person who can lead on the field with body language, to show the guys that no matter how many goals we have already scored, we can score even more. Always think positive, always play forward, try to do more, push and work even harder than before.

I can already see at Barcelona that there are players who are thinking about how to do even more. Sometimes it’s not really words. What you say is important, but even more important is how you show your body language. What are you going to do, what do you expect from yourself, and therefore I am ready to be here to show my performance. I also know that my teammates are ready to follow, not only follow me, but also follow the path that we will be at the end of this season.

Sportzshala: How do you get this title from Real Madrid and then in La Liga?

LewandowskiA: Of course, we try our best. We haven’t started the season yet, but maybe in one or two months — because the run here is before the World Championships. [in November] very short — maybe after that time we can talk more about expectations for the end of the season. But for sure Real Madrid will still be very strong; they will play very well and this is a huge challenge for us. We have to be ready and we have to be there if we want to compete with Real Madrid.

Sportzshala: Robert, I want to go back to what you mentioned about Bayern Munich and those last few months. So, before you left, there was a bit of, you know, political stuff. Reports from Germany said that you may have been a little embarrassed by the fact that Bayern wanted to sign Erling Haaland; does it have anything to do with leaving, did it influence your decision?

Lewandowski: No, it had nothing to do with Erling. I am the guy for whom, even if something is not good, the truth is more important. I don’t want to talk about what exactly happened. But if the question is, was the decision to move because of him, then no, I don’t see a problem if he goes to Bayern Munich.

But some people do not tell me the truth, they say something else. And it’s always been important for me to be clear, to stay true, and maybe for some people that was a problem. And in the end, I know that something is wrong with my man and I knew that well, I see and feel that maybe now is the right time to leave Bayern Munich and join Barcelona.

I had a very good relationship with my teammates, with the staff, with the coach, and for all these things I will miss because I had a great time there. And we were not only friends from the field, but also something more. But in the end, this chapter is over and I am opening a new chapter in my life and a new chapter in my career.

So I feel like I’m in the right position, in the right place. So everything that happened in the last, maybe a few weeks before I left Bayern was also, of course, a lot of politics. The club tried to find an argument why they could sell me to another club, because before it was difficult to explain, maybe to the fans. And I had to come to terms with it, despite the fact that a lot of nonsense was said about me … and a lot of shit. Not true, but in the end I knew that the fans even during this period are still very supportive of me.