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Lewandowski proves to be a wise signing for Barcelona

Just what the team needed to get back to their winning ways

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Congratulations to Robert Lewandowski for winning the Pichichi award, and dethroning Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in the process.

The accolades for Barcelona this season keep piling up.

Dominating the table. Racking up clean sheets. Scoring lots of goals, especially when they mattered the most.

The 23 goals for Robert Lewandowski didn’t exactly set the world on fire, especially when you consider that Benzema scored 19 while playing 10 fewer games. But he scored most of his goals early on to set the tempo for the season, and even when he wasn’t scoring, his presence was always threatening and created more space and time for his team-mates to operate in.

As a result, he also recorded a cool seven assists. Symbolically, this illustrates what made him so critical to the team’s success. He was the leader and professional that this team desperately needed in the dressing room.

RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

He is one of the superstars in world football with the smallest ego. Above all else, he cares about winning, and contributing to the winning culture that must precede it.

That’s not to say the Pole didn’t have something to prove.

Famously, he forced his way out of Bayern Munich because he felt he was no longer appreciated.

At 34 years old, his former club weren’t the only ones who had doubts about his ability to perform at the same level in the years to come.

But credit must go to Xavi, who identified Lewandowski as a target well ahead of the transfer window, and made him feel special and wanted. As a result, Lewandowski was determined to become a Barca player, and prove to the world that both the player and the club had bright days ahead.

FC Barcelona v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

This wasn’t a perfect season for Xavi and Barcelona.

There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure the team can compete at an elite level consistently well into the future.

But this season was a return to a feeling that things were for the most part functional again. Professional again. Positive and full of belief that Barcelona could win titles now.

And that’s what the Lewandowski gamble was all about.

Barca had to win a significant trophy this season to justify the signing, and they did.

FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - LaLiga Santander Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lewandowski’s biggest contribution wasn’t with the goal scoring, it was his leadership amongst a roster of players whose best players were essentially teenagers, and whose veteran captains struggled to command respect.

Pedri and Gavi didn’t look up to Gerard Pique, who retired in November after discovering he had only a small part to play in this campaign. Instead it was Lewandowski the youngsters turned to when the pressure was on, and they needed reassurance that the team had all the tools it needed to succeed.

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Next season, Lewandowski will be back, and in my opinion, we are likely to see the best of him in his second season in the colors.

With all the talk of whether Lionel Messi will return, it’s good to know that even if he doesn’t, Barcelona has a general who can confidently lead the troops back into battle.

Revolution isn’t needed at the moment. For one more season, maybe it’s best to just build on the solid foundation that’s already there.

I’d much rather be Barcelona with Lewandowski coming back, than Real Madrid who must figure out how to replace a legend.

Well done this season Bob.

You arrived just at the right time when Barcelona needed you the most.

Let’s make it two Pichichis in two seasons, and win some other trophies too.

Would it be too much to ask for to go for the Champions League?

For Lewandowski, I have a feeling that nothing matters more.

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