“Performances raise questions” – Lewandowski’s crisis at Barça

After a strong first season in Barcelona, ​​Robert Lewandowski is in crisis. Is this just a short negative episode or the beginning of the end?

“Symbol of decline” – when a striker is dubbed this way in the relevant sports media, it is generally assumed that the person criticized in this way has hardly any goals to his name and his team is languishing at the bottom of the table.

Things are completely different with Robert Lewandowski. The 35-year-old has scored seven times in 14 league games; his FC Barcelona is in third place in La Liga. At first glance it doesn’t look like “decline”.

The fact that the well-known ESPN journalist and Spain expert Graham Hunter attacked Lewandowski so harshly this week may be because he was simply aiming to produce headlines. However, he is not alone in his criticism of the former Bundesliga attacker, who scored 41 times for FC Bayern in the 2020/21 season and thus improved Gerd Müller’s old goal record.

After a convincing first season at Barça with 33 goals in 46 competitive games and winning the championship, Lewandowski’s goal motor sputtered. Since the end of September he has only scored two goals in ten competitive games.

Special clause in the contract?

At times, the 146-time Polish national player seemed like a foreign body; for long stretches he lacked any connection to the Barça game. “Anyone who sees Lewandowski for the first time will wonder how the hell someone so clumsy, slow and clumsy can play for Spain’s champions,” said Hunter.

Jordi Delgado from the newspaperSport”, which is well informed about Barcelona, ​​does not see Lewandowski’s situation as drastic – especially because he missed three matches in between due to an ankle injury. “It’s normal for him to be in a bit of a crisis after the injury,” explains Delgado. However, a “Sport” report a few days ago caused a corresponding stir, according to which Lewandowski had a clause in the contract that would allow Barça to end the contract, which runs until 2026, early in 2024 if the Pole does not play in more than 55 percent of the contract Games would be played for at least 45 minutes.

“The coach believes in him”

Even though the seven-time Bundesliga top scorer is far from that, the rumors started to spread. Journalist José Álvarez said on the show “El Chiringuito”: “There are problems with Lewandowski. Also at the training level. The club is seriously thinking about selling him in the summer.” The superstar’s high salary could play an important role. Although Barça is one of the largest and most famous clubs in the world, the club is burdened by significant liabilities. This affects the transfer policy.

Lewandowski’s departure could open up financial leeway for the currently cash-strapped Catalans and clear the way for new signings. However: With a total of only two goals in the league and three in the Champions League, Lewandowski’s strike partner João Félix is ​​far from Lewandowski’s odds.

That’s one of the reasons why Barça expert Delgado doesn’t believe the Pole will leave early. “He’s still a leader and the coach believes in him.” Lewandowski’s departure is “not very realistic.” In fact, Barcelona coach Xavi continues to visibly rely on the experienced goalscorer. When Lewandowski is fit, he plays. “Xavi has confidence in him and he is still in the starting line-up ahead of Ferran Torres,” explains Delgado, but adds: “Of course his performances raise some questions. We will have to wait and see if that all changes with Vitor Roque in January comes.”

Lewandowski still has one big goal

The 18-year-old Brazilian is considered one of the hottest talents in world football and played his first international match for the “Seleção” in March. He should be Lewandowski’s successor at Barça – but in the long term. “Vitor Roque is coming to learn from him and then possibly replace him. If he performed well and there was a good offer for both sides, Barça would certainly think about selling Lewandowski. But today that is not an issue,” Delgado is sure.

2023-12-10 14:00:56
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