Robert Lewandowski is continuing to make football look easy. After his first-half hat-trick inside 23 minutes against RB Salzburg in the Champions League, he now holds the record for the earliest hat-trick scored in the competition. The Polish poacher has now also become Bayern Munich’s all-time leading scorer in European competition, surpassing the late Gerd Muller.
The forward’s delightful haul on Tuesday night took his tally in Europe to 68, beating Muller's total of 66. His tally in all competitions has now reached 42 for the season, meaning he has now scored over 40 for seven consecutive seasons, once again highlighting his status as one of the very best strikers to have played the beautiful game. With the game evolving, the role of the traditional out-and-out number nine seems to be dying out. Forwards are becoming just as much creators as finishers, something which we have seen a great deal of from Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane in recent years - but Lewandowski is the complete package. Not only has he now become the top scorer in the Champions League this term with 12, but he is on course to break Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 in a single campaign.
Lewandowski’s brilliance and skill allows him to continue playing his own game and he is still arguably the greatest marksman in the world. With each passing year, he doesn’t look like he is slowing down. He has already been close to winning two Ballon d’Ors and he has already put himself in a strong position to challenge for the 2022 honour. BT Sport pundit Peter Crouch said: “It would be a travesty if he didn’t win a Ballon d’Or.” And the former centre-forward is right. The 33-year-old has been harshly overlooked in the last couple of years because Lionel Messi has continued to excel on the pitch which seems to have cast a shadow on the extraordinary things the Poland international has achieved in the same period of time.
The art form of playing as a centre-forward the way Lewandowski does may be ushered out of the game but he continues to prove just how effective he is with his positioning, timed runs and his composure in front of goal. Kane is unquestionably the best all-round striker in the world but when it comes to the fundamentals that a number nine brings to his side, there is no one better than Lewandowski. His abilities are so heightened that many clubs would make the exception to sign a player of his calibre even though he is in the final years of his career.
It is common knowledge that the most prolific goalscorers are the players that move for extortionate prices and for the amount that they cost, usually clubs would like to be signing a talent with plenty of playing years ahead of them as well as having resale value. In Lewandowski you would have clubs abandoning these policies because they know the amount of goals his arrival would bring. This is something we could indeed see materialise in the next 12 months as his current deal with the German champions runs out in 2023 and there have been reports already this term that have said he would be interested in one more big challenge in another country, which is music to the ears of clubs in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
With his excellent intelligence on the pitch, as well as his natural ability to find the back of the net, he would undoubtedly continue to perform at his best in any of the other top leagues in European football and should he decide to pursue this new challenge in the summer or in a year’s time, there is going to be a huge scramble for his signature. His incredible legacy in football continues to grow with every game it seems and we are so accustomed to his greatness that when he does break more records it doesn’t command the ‘wow factor’ response it deserves because we are just too familiar with Lewandowski writing his own chapters in the footballing memoirs. His astonishing achievements have made him one of the most ‘Lewan-dary’ strikers in history.