Robert Lewandowski compares himself to himself, not to others (Photo: Getty Images)


In the World Cup qualifiers, Poland concludes the group matches with Hungary. The first game ended with a 3-3 tie in Budapest. What do you think of Marco Rossi's team, and what do you expect from the clash in November?
– The Hungarian national team proved at the European Championship this summer that they have to be reckoned with. Hungary performed well in the most difficult group, against the strongest opponents – Robert Lewandowski told Nemzeti Sport. – The team has shown its ability to play organized football, and it is no coincidence that several of its members play a decisive role in the Bundesliga. However, Albania is also in the World Cup qualifying group alongside England and, given the fierce competition, we don't want to leave the decision to the last clash. I hope the game against Hungary will be a dead rubber, and we'll secure a position in the top two places.

It is said that Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland could be the stars of the future. Is it a personal mission over 30 to compete with frontmen in their early 20s?
– I would like to point out that I am still here – the attacker replied to another proposition of our portal. – I know that the stars of the new generation are already knocking at the door, but I want to continue winning trophies in the future and keep the level as long as possible. I know how much experience is worth, I know what I'm capable of, and what I need to do to compete with young athletes in the future.

It is like good red wine that it will get better over time?
– I like that metaphor. Age is just a number; mentality matters a lot more. I feel good in my skin, I'm producing the best results in running tests, and looking at my data, I can still perform at the highest level for many years to come. I hope that this analogy can be said about me in the years to come.

Where do you see yourself compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
– I don't know the numbers and the data, I don't know what goal per minute of play they've scored in the past, but I do know that we probably won't see a footballer who can get anywhere near their performance for many years to come. That's why I don't compare myself to them, but to myself only. No matter where you come from, how hard the road is, and how long it takes you to get to the top, it's all about working hard for your dreams.

 


 

What else motivates you now that you've reached the top?
– I'm focusing on what I haven't won yet, and I want to live up to expectations. When we get to such a high level, everyone expects the best from us, and we have to be ready every minute to live up to these expectations – all this, of course, in the spirit of fair play, of which I cannot stress the importance enough. There is no shortage of motivation when spectators can return to the stadiums. Over the past year and a half, we have experienced how depressing it is to play football in front of empty stands.

As a child, what was your biggest inspiration?
– I loved Thierry Henry's play very much, but I'd mention my parents, not him. They made a lot of sacrifices so that I can play football. As a child, I lived about 30 kilometers from my club's training center, and after work, they helped me get to training. Not to become a professional footballer one day, but to have a happy child who can do what he loves more than anything in the world. Just so a kid can play football. I know how hard it was for them back then, so they're still the biggest inspiration for me to this day. Later, of course, I dreamed of what it would be like to play for the biggest clubs in Europe, but I didn't know what that meant in practice.

Have you ever thought about trying yourself out in another top league?
– Year after year, this question arises, but it was never more than speculation. Every year in the Champions League we meet La Liga and Premier League clubs, where we can test what we can do against the best in other leagues. I feel good in Munich, I don't think about moving. I'm just focusing on winning as many trophies as possible with the team. Rumors are unlikely to end in the future, but they have no basis in reality.

Robert Lewandowski doesn't want Poland to be nervous ahead of November's World Cup qualifier against Hungary (Photo: Attila Török)


Florentino Pérez is rumored to have visited you in person to lure you to Madrid. Is that true?
– The President and I have exchanged a few words after the matches between the two clubs, but I cannot say any more than that.

In the Champions League last week, you won hands down at home to Barcelona. Seeing the Catalans' condition could Benfica be the strongest rival in the group?
– We have met Benfica several times in previous years, I know from experience that we cannot expect an easy match, especially in Lisbon. At the same time, the away game will be special; the last time we played in Portugal was when we won the Champions League after all. That night is unforgettable, I'm sure the memories will come back before the group match. However, if Barcelona, Benfica, and Dynamo Kyiv are the opponents, it is impossible to differentiate the rivals; you have to prepare for every match in the same way.

GOLDEN SHOE WINNER LEWANDOWSKI'S GOALS IN THE BUNDESLIGA 2021/22 SEASON

WORLD CUP 2022, EUROPEAN QUALIFIERS
GROUP I, REMAINING MATCHES
ROUND 7, OCTOBER 9, SATURDAY
8.45PM: HUNGARY–Albania
8.45PM: Andorra–England
8.45PM: Poland–San Marino

ROUND 8, OCTOBER 12, TUESDAY
8.45PM: England–HUNGARY
8.45PM: San Marino–Andorra
8.45PM: Albania–Poland

ROUND 9, NOVEMBER 12, FRIDAY
8.45PM: HUNGARY–San Marino
8.45PM: Andorra–Poland
8.45PM: England–Albania

ROUND 10, NOVEMBER 15, MONDAY
8.45PM: Poland–HUNGARY
8.45PM: San Marino–England
8.45PM: Albania–Andorra

GROUP I STANDING
1. England 6 5 1 18–2 +16  16
2. Albania 6 4 2 10–6 +4  12
3. Poland 6 3 2 1 19–8 +11  11
4. HUNGARY 6 3 1 2 12–10 +2  10
5. Andorra 6 1 5 4–14 –10  3
6. San Marino6 61–24–23 0


Translated by Vanda Orosz