Certain forwards are always going to dominate the headlines, with prominent figures at Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United seemingly never a matter of minutes away from generating lively debate.
The exploits of a select few can cast a sizeable shadow over the rest of the footballing fraternity, with endeavours that would have attracted widespread acclaim in any other era finding themselves slipping under the radar somewhat.
It would be all kinds of wrong to suggest that Robert Lewandowski has not been given the recognition he deserves over the years, but he has not been heralded as highly as he might have been. A desire to right that wrong contributed significantly to a change of scenery being taken in during the summer of 2022.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) September 29, 2021
Trading life at Bayern Munich for that at Barcelona has kept the prolific Pole very much in the spotlight, with his new employers figuring as prominently in football tips relating to domestic titles and Champions League crowns as those he left behind in Bavaria.
Lewandowski has never shied away from the fact that he sought to push through a switch from Germany to Spain in order to force his way into contention for the most prestigious of individual honours. He is a two-time winner of the FIFA Best Award, but Ballon d’Or nods have always been delivered in the direction of others.
Scratching that itch, even in the latter stages of a distinguished career, has become a top priority for a man accustomed to positioning himself among the very best in the business. He has rubbed shoulders with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for some time, but has always ranked just below in the grand scheme of things.
Was that because the Bundesliga is not taken as seriously as La Liga and the Premier League, with goals considered to be easier to come by when leading the line for a dominant Bayern Munich side that was always going to create chances by the bucket load for a lethal No.9?
If that was the case, then stepping out of a serious comfort zone could work in Lewandowski’s favour. With Ronaldo having taken his travelling circus full circle in Manchester, via Madrid and Turin, another of the 21st century’s most productive marksmen is eager to prove that he is far more than a flat-track bully.
New club, same Robert Lewandowski 😌 pic.twitter.com/W41wT2LI6u
— GOAL (@goal) September 10, 2022
A burst out of the blocks at Camp Nou, with the target found on 12 occasions through his opening 10 appearances, helped to silence any doubters and win over a new fan base. Said exploits should have come as no real surprise, but uncomfortable questions were as inevitable as the net being rippled in Catalonia.
Lewandowski’s strike rate should have secured him a place among the all-time greats. For many it already has, but doing business at Barcelona will help to win over any stragglers. He has hit at least 40 goals in each of the last seven seasons, which are stunning figures by anybody’s standards, and proving once again in 2022/23 that his sporting life begins at 40 could help to deliver one of those Golden Balls that he so desperately craves.