On the day he officially has become the richest sportsman in Poland, the feeling got even worse. Booed off the pitch on Wednesday, Robert Lewandowski has never had this so hard in his home country, not even when he was kicked away by Legia and back playing only at third tier. That four-goals performance against Real Madrid seems some time off now.
The Denmark game (3-2) was yet another example that not even the more youthful and fast performers alongside could have worked for Lewandowski. It was the story of a performance too average for a player of his caliber, too many moments of disappointment between players that tried so hard to meet his expectations. Are those too high and unrealistic for Poland national team or for Robert Lewandowski, the biggest treasure this country had for some considerable time?
There is no question that Lewandowski has lost part of the magic to his name this summer. It’s not only the strange and somewhat unthinkable chaos between him, his agent Cezary Kucharski and both clubs involved – Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Stressing his disappointment of move not coming to the end was one thing, but then starting a fight with Borussia’s authorities about an improvement to his last year on the deal with the club that was promised to him on the day he made his decision to stay.
Today the case is closed and wages are higher, yet Poles are puzzled of how easily Lewandowski is throwing his position at Dortmund away. Idolized by the fans for his contribution over last three years, with more money given out, Borussia proved to see him as one of the most important members of the squad – even with only twelve months to go on his deal. Is it really worth that much of a hassle to change the sides in what still seems to be a close fight? Guardiola remains a catching name in the world of football and Bayern were the champions last time around but surely everything Borussia did so far was to prove how much they want to… still be in this fight.
Then there is Poland and Lewandowski’s inability to score. Since that Greece game at the start of Euro 2012 and then a brace against San Marino at home, Lewandowski was unable to find the net for the national team – not that he has not been trying too hard. Though critics will disagree, but more times than not it was the story of how poor the delivery and creation process of his teammates was, not Lewy’s fault. But Denmark was different and his sulking – ignoring Waldemar Fornalik’s tips, then asking to be subbed and finally with a cheeky smile saying that everything is great. “I haven’t heard anything,” he said of the crowd’s booing, when the whole country was already talking. News of the public TV were finished by the critique of those who dared to whistle at the striker. Columns were written and published, yet nothing will change the most realistic scenario – Robert is not feeling too well in this team.
This is typical for Poland and Poles and the conflict is on cards partly because Lewandowski, fans and Fornalik all want the same – for him to succeed. Sadly, no one seems to know the answer what should be done to achieve that and critics are already on the side that it’s not teammates fault, but Lewandowski’s hesitation to actually try harder on the pitch. He was very poor against Denmark – full stop? – yet even then opponents agreed that his movement was crucial for how Poland played. Withdrawing defenders, always marked by two of them, Lewandowski attracted attention not only of his “fans”. It may be a bit of a stretch, but he really made it easier for rather anonymous names like Sobota, Zieliński and Klich to make their impact. It is quite strange that he is now gaining whole of the attention, not those who have scored and given the hope of a better tomorrow for Fornalik’s side.
Not all is well despite promising win. While Poles hoped that Lewandowski’s development will also mean national team’s rise, the discontent now connects with every part of striker’s life. His wedding and the TV attention given to the event? Embarrassing, apparently. Demanding the move and his agent’s tries to make it happen? Why beg for something so uncertain when he has so much at BVB! Not scoring again for Poland? Boo!
Lewandowski is not the one without his fault – once he could have been praised for how wisely his career has developed but now, when even sponsor’s responsibilities at national team are a problem for him, the criticism is gaining in strength and sense. If that conflict or problem will not be played in the right way, soon the choice left will be much easier one – when for both parties it will be better off without. And if you look beyond his performances for Poland, the scale of talent and probability that he will indeed provide threat and quality, there is not much to replace him with. Now that’s something to worry about.