Robert Lewandowski may be approaching 33, but the Polish striker has just completed another goal-laden season with Bayern Munich.
The forward had a remarkable 55-goal season in 2019/20 as Bayern Munich netted a hat-trick winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and the Champions League and picked up where he left off with 41 Bundesliga goals in 29 games last season. Now he aims to wreak havoc with Poland at Euro 2020.
But Lewandowski’s career could have been so, so different – if it hadn’t been for a volcano …
Sam Allardyce’s quest for a forward when the Blackburn Rovers manager saw him scour Europe in search of a goalscorer to increase their chances of survival in the Premier League in 2010.
With David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pedersen regularly creating chances, Jason Roberts, Franco Di Santo, Nikola Kalinic and David Hoilett just weren’t in the lead.
Hiring manager Martyn Glover recommended Lech Poznan Lewandowski’s hitman to Big Sam, who had scored 21 times in 34 games. Discussions took place, a fee of £ 4million was agreed and the deal was all but done.
However, volcanic ash that gushed from Icelandic mountain Eyjafjallajokull has blocked almost all flights from northern Europe, including Lewandowski’s flight to the UK to secure the deal.
Instead, Borussia Dortmund surged this summer and the Rovers were forced to kick each other as Glover (now recruiting manager at Southampton) watched the Poland international become one of the deadliest strikers from the continent.
Lewandowski has reached the 40-goal mark in six consecutive seasons and is also hoping to give his country a perfect start.
But the physical specimen you see now was not always in such a chiseled state. In 2006 he was released by Legia Warsaw (his hometown club) for being too weak. Krzysztof Sikorski, one of his first trainers, recalls: “He was very thin. Her legs were like sticks and I was always afraid that others would break them.
His family has extraordinary physical attributes and athletic genes are spread throughout; Lewandowski’s father, Krzysztof, was a Polish judo and football champion. Her mother, Iwona, was a professional volleyball player. Her older sister, Milena, played competitive volleyball.
So how did the skinny striker become the Polish powerhouse fans have grown used to today?
Lewandowski married Karate World Cup bronze medalist Anna Stachurska in 2013. Ms. Lewandowski is a well-known sports nutritionist, with a website, blog, books, DVDs and over 1.6 million people. followers on Instagram.
In addition to cutting out cow’s milk and soy milk, fitness fanatics rarely drink alcohol and have massively cut back on fatty and sugary foods.
TYPICAL FOOD FROM ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
Created by Anna, the fitness guru, the Bayern Munich striker has all the ingredients for success
- Breakfast: Porridge
- Lunch: Spaghetti with vegetables, beetroot juice with fresh spices
- Snacks: Pancakes or brownies with matcha tea
- Having dinner: Fresh fish or meat
She told Bild: “The most important thing is training and nutrition. We abstain from lactose and wheat flour. It is about quality food.
“Pancakes, brownies, vegetable spaghetti, porridge or millet. We also like to eat high quality fish.
“Sometimes after training we drink beet juice with cinnamon or cayenne pepper. When we mix several foods at once, sometimes we don’t do the right thing.
“We feel bloated, have to loosen our pants. The mixture is too much for our body.
Tom Williams in The Bleacher Report. wrote: “Lewandowski’s approach to nutrition and fitness has been so successful that in Dortmund he was dubbed ‘The Body’ by his admiring teammates.”
Former Dortmund teammate Nuri Sahin said: “Lewy has the most amazing body, it’s just pure muscle. It stuns the other players in the dressing room.
In addition to exercises specific to the Bayern striker, the striker also participates in high intensity training focused on explosive power.
Not only does he enjoy weight lifting and kickboxing with his wife, Lewandowski trains in his home gym.
“We have a home gym and I use it on my days off, usually with my wife Anna,” he told an interviewer.
“Sometimes I do special exercises to work on my concentration, which is very important for an attacker. And I need strength to compete with strong defenders.
When Pep Guardiola ended his sabbatical from Barcelona and took over as Bayern manager, he was stunned to learn of Lewandowski’s physical and mental dedication to the sport.
“He’s the most professional player I’ve ever met,” he said in 2016 according to AS.
“In his head he thinks about good food, good sleep and training: 24 hours a day. He’s always there, never hurt, because he focuses on those things.
“He always knows what is important to be in the best condition. But I was always very, very happy with him from the first moment.
With a contract in Bavaria until 2023, the German champions are confident Lewandowski will always be a leading center-forward, breaking away from their usual stance on contract extensions for players over 30.
He has played 30 or more games per season in the Bundesliga over the past decade – a record broken only by one other player, a goalkeeper.
And perhaps the most crucial reason for this unwavering consistency is its approach to getting periods of rest, including hiring a sleep trainer.
“There were a couple of sessions where we met,” he told Sport Bid. “He goes over some details on how I can better regenerate myself.
“For example, that there is no light source in the room. We even discussed which position I sleep in best.
“As I am right handed and my right foot is stronger, I better sleep on my left side. I’m trying to put this into practice, but it’s obviously difficult to implement it one-on-one.