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Lewandowski talks Aubameyang, Xavi, Dembele, Benzema following Barcelona move



Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Robert Lewandowski’s move to Barcelona from Bayern Munich has, without a doubt, been one of the biggest transfers of the ongoing transfer window.

The deal was not an easy one to pull off as the German champions were unwilling to part ways with the veteran goalscorer. But ultimately, Lewandowski’s desire to join the Blaugrana and the Catalans’ persistence eventually paid off as the striker ended up completing the move.

Lewandowski has already made his unofficial debut for Barça featuring in their pre-season friendlies against Real Madrid and Juventus in the USA.

The Poland captain sat down with an interview with ESPN during which he opened up about his transfer to Barcelona, his motivations to join the Catalans, the chance to play under Xavi Hernandez and various other topics.

“I am very happy to be at Barcelona. I know I have only been a Barcelona player for a few days, but I feel I have adapted quickly. Every day I try to do my part to adapt to the club,” Lewandowski said, about his transfer to Barcelona.

Talking about how Xavi and his new teammates have helped him, the striker added: “He has helped me a lot. Our communication is good. I have noticed that my teammates want to help me and that has been very important for me.”

Lewandowski’s move to Barça has seen him get reunited with his former Borussia Dortmund teammate, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Expressing his pleasure over the reunion with the former Arsenal captain, the 33-year-old said:

“We had a great time at BVB. It was about nine or ten years ago, but I remember very well how we played, what we did off the pitch, because he is a great friend. I am very happy to be with Aubameyang at my new club.”

Explaining his decision to move to La Liga, Lewandowski said: “I have always dreamed of playing in La Liga. I know my time at Bayern was great, I know I won everything, but after 12 years in the Bundesliga I knew it was time to try something new.”

“I can’t say anything bad about my former teammates and Bayern, even if they had a ‘policy’ before I joined Barça, but everything I achieved at Bayern was fantastic. I know I was in a comfort zone at Bayern, but I wanted something new, a change,” he added.

“When I found out that Barcelona were interested in signing me, I knew it was a sign that it was time for me to leave Bayern and play in La Liga. I know I can continue to play at a high level in the coming years.”

Lewandowski then opened up on his stint at Bayern under former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, stating that it helped him understand the principles and philosophies at Barça to an extent.

Lewandowski with Pep Guardiola during their time at Bayern Munich (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

“In my first two years at Bayern I had eight Spanish teammates, and almost all the staff were from Spain. In that time, I learned from the staff and from my Spanish teammates… How they worked, how they played, the tactics with Pep… Who by the way, his tactics are unbelievable,” he stated.

“I know it will be easy for me to adapt at Barcelona, my experience will help. I try to talk to my teammates in Spanish, because I want to learn the language more. I still need a few weeks to improve,” Lewandowski added.

Talking about Barcelona’s new signings, the Poland captain said: “I am very impressed. We have a very strong team. We are ready to think about titles. I am the guy who always thinks about winning every match.”

On Barça’s ambitions to win titles and trophies this season, he said: “I know that with Xavi we can do it because I have seen how he prepares the training sessions, and all the hard work we do. All this tells me that we are on the right track.”

When quizzed how he sees the Barcelona attacking trident will look like in the coming season, Lewandowski replied: “It is very difficult to answer that question. We have about five or six attacking players in the team, and they all have different profiles.

“At Bayern I worked with different types of players in attack; those who dribble a lot, those who send a lot of crosses and so on. But I don’t care who I have as wingers, I’m very flexible. I am ready to play with any player and any tactic.”

“I can adapt to any formation, tactic or system. I know it will take some time, but I can adapt and it will be easy for me,” he further added.

Lewandowski will join forces with another former Borussia Dortmund star in Ousmane Dembele, who re-signed with the club after having let his previous contract expire.

Lewandowski with two other former Dortmund players, Aubameyang and Dembele at Barcelona (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“He is a fantastic player. He has top-level qualities. I hope he stays healthy for the whole season. If Dembélé is focused on the game like he is now, he can score a lot of goals and provide many assists,” Lewandowski said about the French forward.

“I am sure that with this form, and if he stays healthy, Dembélé can be one of the best players in the world. In training I see that he’s different, he’s very good.”

When asked whether he can continue his prolific goalscoring record in La Liga, the former Bayern Munich striker said: “I’ve played in the Champions League against Spanish teams, it’s not something new for me. I’m ready for this.

“I don’t care who I play against, or how difficult an opponent will be, I will always give my best. I’m ready for anything. I have a good mentality. There are more games in a season in La Liga than in Bundesliga, so I will have more chances to score more goals.”

Lewandowski’s arrival at Barça will see him get pitted against Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema in what will be a rivalry between two of the best strikers on the planet currently. Touching about his potential battle with the Frenchman, Lewandowski said:

“Karim is a fantastic player, he had a brilliant Champions League season. I wouldn’t like to compare myself with him… He has been in La Liga for many years, but it would be a new challenge for me.

“Benzema showed last season how good he is, but more than comparing myself to him, for me it’s more important how we will play at Barcelona, what we will achieve, and win every game.”

Following the departure of Lionel Messi last year, Barça lost a leader on the pitch and Lewandowski insisted that he is ready to step into that role. “Of course, It’s a great opportunity for me to be the person who leads the team,” he said.

“On the pitch, I want to lead my teammates with my body language; to show them that no matter how many goals we have scored, we can always score more. Always think positive, always play forward. Always work hard. That’s what I want to do.”

Looking forward to the season ahead and the challenges that await Barcelona, he said:

“Barcelona have signed five new players this summer. The first weeks will be a bit more difficult for the whole team because all the new players will have to adapt… But the season is very long, in a few weeks this team will work.”

“There were problems with what the old board [Bartomeu’s board] did with the team, what happened last year, and how complicated last season was for Barça, now everything has changed. We are all working hard, we are all being positive. I’m sure Barça will succeed.”

On how he and Barcelona plan to snatch the La Liga title away from Real Madrid, he said: “We will try, giving our best effort. But of course, Real Madrid are the current champions, they will play well and try to defend their title.”

Lewandowski will be presented in Barcelona on 5th August (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

On the prospect of going up against Messi and Argentina at the FIFA World Cup, the Poland captain said:

“They have Messi. For me Argentina are top-3 candidates to win the World Cup. I know that this World Cup is very important for Messi, and he will give his best. It will be a challenge for us.”

Lewandowski also revealed that rumours of Bayern Munich’s interest in Erling Haaland did not play a part in his exit from the club.

“No. It had nothing to do with him. I never saw a problem with Bayern signing him, but some people didn’t tell me the truth. The truth is the most important thing.

“For me, the most important thing is for people to be clear with me. I wanted them to tell me the truth, but some people [at Bayern] didn’t do that. And I saw that something wasn’t working and I felt it was time for a change. My time at Bayern is over. Now a new chapter in my life begins, Barcelona.”

Lewandowski also took the opportunity to thank the Bayern fans for supporting him, saying: “In these last few months, a lot of things were said about me that were not true. But the Bayern fans always supported me. I will always be very grateful to them, I will never forget that. It was a very tough period for me.”

Finally, talking about his official presentation in Barcelona on August 5, in front of local supporters, Lewandowski added: “I see that they support me a lot. I am very grateful, I will be there on August 5. I know what it means for the fans.”

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