Robert Lewandowski was the world’s most successful striker three times in a row, but 2022 brought the dethronement of the Pole. “Lewy” may not feel his 34 years, but he was unable to fend off the attack of the younger generation.
54, 47, and 69 – that’s how many goals Robert Lewandowski scored consecutively in 2019, 2020, and 2021. No other footballer in the world, not even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo came close to the Pole’s achievements during this time.
A year ago, “Lewy” in general shattered another glass ceiling, as he broke the 60-hit barrier only as the third footballer in the 21st century, after the aforementioned Argentine and Portuguese.
Worst in years
The year 2021 was the best of the Pole’s career, with only Messi (91 in 2012) managing to score more than 69 goals this century. It seemed that Lewandowski was gliding like a steamroller, and nothing would stop him from overcoming more limits. Especially after his transfer to Barcelona, after which he reportedly feels the best of his career.
Meanwhile, the year that ended turned out to be his weakest in years. True, the Catalan Pride will still run out on the pitch this year, but the Pole will miss the scheduled December 31 Barcelona derby against Espanyol due to disqualification.
In 2022, “Lewy” scored a total of 42 goals for Bayern (20), Barcelona (18), and the Polish national team (4). 27 (!) fewer than the year before – a drastic difference. And taking into account the number of appearances, he scored less often by nearly 30 percent.
To find a year in which he was less effective, you have to go all the way back to 2014, when Lewandowski was moving from Dortmund to Munich and was just world-star material. This is, therefore, his worst year since he began his trek to the soccer top.
A new generation
He’s still at it, and his flag flies alongside the banners of Messi or Ronaldo, but it’s getting tighter there. For after three years of undivided reign, Lewandowski will be dethroned by Kylian Mbappe, who is a decade younger, with an even younger Erling Haaland (born in 2000) lurking just behind him.
Mbappe has already scored 52 goals in 2022, but the 24-year-old has not yet said his last word as he advanced with France to the World Cup semifinals. The Paris Saint-Germain and Le Bleus star will therefore have at least two more opportunities to increase his output. And perhaps even three, as a league match in PSG colors awaits him on December 28.
Lewandowski will not only watch the Frenchman’s back but will also be doomed to passively watch as Erling Haaland overtakes him. The phenomenal Norwegian has the same output as the Pole for now, but by the end of December, he will have three opportunities to increase it in the colors of Man City. And there is no doubt that after a month’s break for the World Cup, the great absentee of the 2022 World Cup will return to the game hungry for goals.
Top scorers in 2022:
Robert Lewandowski year after year from 2011-20:
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