Robert Lewandowski has recognised the obvious potential in Erling Haaland’s game, with the Bayern Munich striker a big fan of a Bundesliga rival at Borussia Dortmund, but has warned that there is no telling how the prolific Norwegian will develop.
A remarkable strike rate is being enjoyed by the talented 21-year-old at BVB, with 80 goals scored through 79 appearances, and the expectation is that he will form part of a big-money transfer this summer as the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United circle.
Haaland appears destined to reach the top, with Lewandowski acknowledging as much, but there are no guarantees that the former Red Bull Salzburg forward will enjoy the kind of longevity that has made the Polish frontman in Munich an all-time great.
What has been said?
Speaking to Polish magazine PilkaNozna, Lewandowski said of Haaland – who is following in his illustrious footsteps at Dortmund: “Haaland is a great player who is fun to watch.
“But just because someone has great potential doesn't mean they will be a real star for many years to come.
“Everyone develops differently. He's strong, fast, physical. His game is based on that. I have different qualities. And we don't know how he will develop.”
Will Lewandowski continue to star?
Haaland is managing to match Lewandowski’s output at present, but Bayern's talismanic presence believes he can get even better despite now being 33 years of age.
He has plundered a further 34 goals through 27 outings this season, having registered at least 40 in each of the last six seasons, and has broken several records in German football previously held by the legendary Gerd Muller.
There is no sign of Lewandowski slowing down and he continues to strive for improvement, saying of his game: “My performance tests are now giving better results than last year. As for the numbers, it seems my best time is yet to come. I feel better now than I did two years ago.”
FIFA Best or Ballon d’Or?
Lewandowski’s exploits have allowed him to occupy a standing alongside world football’s most decorated performers, with back-to-back FIFA Best awards secured for 2020 and 2021.
He has been unable to land a prestigious Ballon d’Or, with Lionel Messi pipping him to that prize last year after seeing France Football opt against handing out the award in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Missing out on that accolade could be considered a source of frustration, as even Messi has admitted that he deserves a billing as the best player on the planet, but Lewandowski is happy with his lot and claims to take greater pride from being recognised by his peers in a FIFA poll.
He has said: “I've been thinking about these two awards lately: FIFA The Best and the Ballon d'Or. I have come to the conclusion that the FIFA award does matter more than the Ballon d'Or.
“Only journalists vote in the latter - there is no clear verification, as many experts or former and current footballers have said. Professionals and journalists vote for it in FIFA; team captains, coaches, and they can realistically and objectively evaluate our achievements, because they know how much each match, each record, each injury costs us.
“Maybe in terms of prestige, the Ballon d'Or is positioned higher than the FIFA Footballer of the Year, but knowing that I have received the best footballer of the world award for the second time in a row in the voting from coaches and players makes me proud, because I know how hard I have worked for many years.”