Barcelona are less than a week away from returning to league action, but will be doing so without their star goalscorer Robert Lewandowski. Suspended for three matches, a young team will be forced to step in three tricky matches without their leader.
It is a curious situation the Blaugrana find themselves in, having already suffered a major failure in the Champions League and yet are top of the league currently. Perhaps it should not be such a surprise that such a young side are going through moments of inconsistency.
That will still be an unfamiliar situation for Lewandowski. The Polish forward won it all at Bayern Munich and at the start of almost every season, the aim is to win the Champions League.
Speaking to Sport, Lewandowski revealed why it was he wanted to join a Barcelona team which is far from the finished article.
“I know I’ve won everything with Bayern, but for me to take a new step in my career, to move forward… to be part of Barça… It’s not just for the club, but also on a personal level… It is a challenge. To win, to be the best club again, with the best players, playing the best football… I wanted to be part of this moment and not only want to live the experience, but also contribute my quality, my abilities.”
Some also raised eyebrows at giving a 34-year-old a four-year deal at such an advanced age. Lewandowski is of the opinion he can maintain his level for all four years though.
“I know that I can be at this level for the next three years because I’ve been working like this for ten or fifteen years, to play as much as possible. I don’t feel older than my colleagues, not due to my age. My physique is very good and there are different ways to experience it. Barca is a huge challenge and I wanted to be part of this new project.”
Having spent €45m on him, the Blaugrana will be hoping he can do so. While the impact of competing for titles and having a star striker goes far beyond the cost of a transfer fee or wages, maintaining his salary for a player struggling to lead the line for more than a single year will not help Barcelona’s delicate finances.