Scoring goals is his habit. In fact, he is addicted to it. Robert Lewandowski is the best number 9 in the world right now and very few would disagree with that…..

 

Since the great Ronaldo O Fenomeno left the stage, the days of those flexible but prolific number 9s seemed to have ended. Yes, someone like Luis Suarez did show up, but is more about pressing and possession rather than the flair of an Andriy Shevchenko. In this decade, the beautiful game almost forgot the true nature of a genuine number 9.

We witnessed the return of false 9 – a reminiscence of Magnificent Magyars using  Nandor Hidegkuti as such at Wembley in 1953 and Brazil using Tostao as such in Mexico in 1970. Football’s technical experts had to ploy such because when you are dealing with two extra-ordinary talents, you cannot but go for false 9 idea. Wingers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi took goal-scoring to such a level that it completely undermined the value of a striker and centre forward in a team.

But in recent times, people like Karim Benzema, Jamie Vardy, Crio Immobile and Robert Lewandowski are bringing back the concept of genuine number 9 again. Neither are they O Fenomeno nor Andriy Shevchenko, but their flexibility in front of the goal is aiding the number 9s to thrive again. Certainly, they are not all about pressing and possession.

Among these few gentlemen, Poland and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is becoming one of the best number 9s in Europe if not in the history of the game. Recently, he has been in a rollicking form. In the Champions League group match encounter against Red Star Belgrade, the Polish striker smashed 4 goals in just 14 minutes and 31 seconds. Such insane displays are nothing new for Lewandowski, who smashed 4 six years ago against Real Madrid. Meanwhile, in 2015 at Bundesliga in 2015, he plundered 5 goals in 9 minutes against Vlf Wolfsburg.

After scoring 4 goals the other night, Lewandowski also became the club’s all-time scorer in the tournament – the same record he holds with Borussia Dortmund as well – and the fastest player in tournament’s history to do.

For the club and country this year, Lewandowski has scored 51 goals in 53 games – 10 goals from 7 games in the Champions League. According to the statistics of Daily Mail, Lewandowski’s  goal-scoring run leads to a goal approximately in every 57 minutes.

Interestingly, this stellar run is about seven minutes quicker than Messi’s best ever La Liga and Europe season in 2012-13 where he scored 46 goals in 32 appearances.  Barcelona won the La Liga title with historical 100 points with the Argentine proving a prolific best. Ronaldo, on the other hand, had best minutes-to-goal campaign in 2013-14, where he scored every 73.6 minutes for Real Madrid. These feats have now been beaten by Lewandowski with 24 Bundesliga matches remaining.

With the increase of age, Lewandowski is relying more on scoring from long-range shoots and set-piece headers like Cristiano Ronaldo in his 30s rather than those chicky ones in front of the goal. His ability to use both the feet aids him to score more gaols at which he is just addicted to. In fact, he has become an all-round performer – other than possessing the abilities of a cool finisher like Vardy and Benzema, he can score in variety of ways. As Gerard Pique stated, “He can use both feet and he’s good in the air. It’s really tough when you have to mark a player that can do everything”.

The 31-year old Polish star is the best number 9 in the world right now.

Still a lot of time left in this season to end and the kind of form Lewandowski is in, he is expected to achieve greater feats.

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