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Robert Lewandowski can get Barcelona again on high, however are the membership prepared for him?


As a result of he is the second-most costly switch for a footballer over the age of 33, and since Barcelona are basically mortgaging their future to crash-build a competitive squad, the questions up to now have centered on: Is Robert Lewandowski able to giving the Blaugrana worth for his or her cash?

The doubters have additionally carped: Is the ex-Bayern Munich man going to stay as much as such an unlimited funding (a reported €45 million transfer fee plus wages over a four-year contract)? And, will he adapt to Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez’s model of soccer whereas scoring these killer objectives the squad has so sorely lacked over the previous two seasons?

It is not that these questions are utterly misplaced, however I feel there’s one other, extraordinarily essential one which has been ignored: Are Barca prepared for Lewandowski?

There is a host of causes to ask this — plenty of key assessments the membership, relatively than completely the participant, should move for this high-budget summer season marriage to flourish.

In becoming a member of Barcelona, Lewandowski accepted a genuinely exceptional threat, given his standing and the standard of membership he left, in addition to the others (Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea) reportedly enthusiastic about him. On the absolute exterior, Barcelona have till Sept. 1 to fulfill LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play rules by vastly reducing their salary mass as a way to register Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Pablo Torre, Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembele.

That is an infinite activity. However, infinitely extra urgent is the truth that membership president Joan Laporta and his switch staff have barely greater than two weeks to get not less than a few the important thing signings (Lewandowski and Raphinha on the head of the queue) absolutely registered and able to play within the season opener towards Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou on Aug. 13.

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Take into consideration the row, take into consideration the embarrassment if they can not handle that. You’ll be able to wager your backside greenback that the query of “Will you be in monetary form to register my consumer?” performed an enormous half in negotiations, and that there can be stringent penalty clauses inserted in Lewandowski’s deal if Barça fail to fulfill LaLiga guidelines in time to get him registered.

However despite the fact that Lewandowski was evidently wowed by each Laporta and Xavi in selecting Barcelona, and throughout the course of of constructing it ultra-clear to Bayern that they may cease their efforts to steer him to remain, that is an unbelievable state of affairs.

Unprecedented for my part. World class, about to show 34 in August, desired by high golf equipment round Europe but, when making his debut in a 1-0 Clásico win over Real Madrid in a Las Vegas pleasant, Lewandowski wasn’t even conscious of whether or not his transfer can be made absolutely official in time for the brand new season.

The membership has put in such effort on transfers, wage discount and income technology (with the Spotify sponsorship included, the overall is over €800m since spring) that it feels inconceivable their new celebrity, or the opposite notable signings, are liable to not being registered to play in LaLiga till the January window.

However: the proof is within the pudding. For instance, despite the fact that the trigger wasn’t monetary you may wager every little thing you personal that when Dani Alves re-signed for Barça final January, he was unaware that they would not register him to play of their UEFA Europa League marketing campaign. May certainly one of this summer season’s signings have a nasty shock awaiting — sidelined on the membership unable to play league soccer?

Even when it is a minor threat, Lewandowski has staked an enormous quantity by agreeing to signal for a membership that weren’t in a position to instantly affirm his eligibility with the authorities who govern Spain’s league. Barcelona have made him guarantees, he is accepted in good religion — however the clock is ticking.

The subsequent very important areas the place Barcelona have to rapidly exhibit to this ultra-demanding athlete that they are at his stage of competence: coaching, health, damage prevention, recuperation, plus when he, and others, must be rotated.

Coaching classes, in concept, should not be the issue. Xavi and Lewandowski share a imaginative and prescient of what elite soccer needs to be like. The Catalan’s impression on the every day exercises as soon as he took over from Ronald Koeman final November was seismically good and Lewandowski is, as soon as once more, going to have vastly gifted footballers left, proper and centre.

However wider every day life at Barcelona is now about to be microscopically examined by their new centre-forward. Xavi and backroom workers have tried to purge all of the horrible failings they inherited. However this, bear in mind, is a membership that was in a horrible mess on the subject of exactly the requirements which Lewandowski, and doubtless any long-term Bayern star, considers fundamental.

When Xavi took over he discovered a lackadaisical angle to timekeeping, eating regimen and depth of labor. Furthermore, he totally disapproved of the way in which the medical facet of the first-team squad operated and, in equity, there have been loads of desperately poor examples. Dembele’s stratospherically unhealthy sequence of accidents, particularly given how few related issues he’d suffered at Borussia Dortmund, could be the worst.

However what concerning the failure of Ansu Fati‘s meniscus operations, and recuperations, plus his hamstring issues, which have value the prodigious purpose scorer over 80 matches, injured, in lower than two years? The 2021-22 season was additionally dreadfully impacted by Pedri‘s lengthy absences — an element of being overplayed by each Barcelona and Spain at a really tender age. However nobody — Camp Nou soccer workers, medics, physios or health coaches — coped with handle having a phenomenon on their books. Nor have Barcelona’s medics been in a position to maintain Samuel Umtiti in aggressive form.

Since taking up, Xavi has insisted on drastic modifications, sackings and hirings, in all three areas — physiotherapy, health preparation and, above all, with the rehiring of the notably wonderful Dr. Ricard Pruna. Nonetheless, all these professionals are actually going be put to the take a look at — microscopically. Lewandowski, do not forget, is a health and well-being hawk. Ought to he discover requirements or attitudes at Barcelona’s Joan Gamper coaching floor under both what he is been dwelling with at Bayern, or what he believes in personally, there’ll instantly be pressure.

It is broadly recognized that his spouse, Anna, dictates the participant’s basic eating regimen and that this course of has functioned spectacularly effectively (even when he eats his candy before his main course or salad.) As well as, Lewandowski has even employed a sleep therapist to maximise his potential, previously stating that he sleeps on his left facet to protect his proper foot.

Testimonials to the 33-year-old’s angle and depth of preparation come from the legendary striker and longtime Bayern non secular chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: “In our dressing room no one has as spectacular a physique as Robert.”

Or, in case you like, hearken to Jupp Heynckes, treble-winning supervisor at Bayern: “The factor about Robert which most impresses me is his professionalism, his ambition, his ardour and the bodily form he is in.”

Whereas managing Bayern, Pep Guardiola restricted himself to easily calling Lewandowski “one of the skilled gamers I’ve ever labored with.”

It is attainable that you simply seen Lewandowski solely as a hungry, decided, prolific striker. It is attainable that you simply thought being a soccer “supervisor” actually pertained solely to the formation used, the techniques, dealing with the media, profitable or shedding trophies. However that is not it. The bedrock is the every day work. Who’s within the energy seat? You or the gamers? Imagine me, this generally is a very threatening seesaw relationship. If there are 100%, bona-fide world-class winners and fighters in your group — have you ever received them satisfied? Nearly as essential: are your workers convincing these hawkish gamers with each phrase, each deed, with their attitudes, selections, plans, communication abilities?

This, and a lot extra, would be the gas of whether or not Lewandowski is happy, even impressed by his new surroundings, and whether or not he ignites. Barça have signed a man who has performed in solely two Champions League finals, gained one and never scored in both. But he’s a phenomenon within the competitors — solely Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have outscored him and his ratio, 86 goals in 106 games, is bettered solely by Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano.

Provided that Lewandowski will flip 34 on the day of Barça’s second league match, he is at Camp Nou principally for instant impression within the vastly profitable Champions League (the place Barça wish to earn near €400m within the subsequent three seasons) much more than in LaLiga. They crave his purpose assurance within the one area the place they will make inroads into their extraordinary debt.

Xavi will, unquestionably, be tempted to relaxation the striker forward of some key UCL matches — one thing {that a} participant who has averaged a 95% look charge in all obtainable membership fixtures since 2010 is not used to and will not like. Who wins that argument? One other take a look at Lewandowski brings to Barça.

It is all going to be fascinating to observe and there is no query that, now Barça have invested so closely in him, Lewandowski must ship. However, I promise you, there will be some Camp Nou workers, and gamers, who have not skilled something exactly like this man earlier than. They’d higher be as much as scratch.

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