Robert Lewandowski refuses to name Messi or Ronaldo as GOAT

  • Kat Lucas

Just about everyone in football has weighed in on the age-old question of Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo. 

We say ‘age-old’, when in truth, your interpretation of that question probably depends on to which generation you belong. 

Yet whether it’s Pele, Diego Maradona, or one or the two contemporary legends who have your vote, you’ll struggle to find anyone in the game without an opinion. 

Which brings us to Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker has a strong argument to make when it comes to the most prolific player in the world right now and is currently the favourite to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or. 

That ought to put him in prime position to have his say. However, not only did he stop short of nailing his colours to either Ronaldo or Messi, he insisted it’s impossible to single out one player as the greatest of all time at all. 

Speaking to Lothar Matthaus with Bild, the Polish international explained (translation via Goal): 

“There isn’t a single player who can be singled out. Players shape epochs. It used to be you [Matthaus].

“The last 10, 15 years Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho. Previously, the Brazilian striker Ronaldo.

“There are always extraordinary talents, appearances that simply convey fun in football. World stars manage to make difficult things appear easy and simple.”


When asked who his own childhood idols were, Lewandowski added: 

“I remember exactly. When I was six years old, there was only one idol for me: Roberto Baggio!

“Alessandro Del Piero later became my role model in football, I admired him. However, I could not yet judge exactly what characterises his style of play, I was just too young for that. It later became Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

“His movements, the runs in from deep, the finishes – as a young footballer these were the qualities I wanted to have. I wanted to imitate Henry in everything.”

That is some high praise for Baggio, Del Piero and Henry. Most importantly, Lewandowski’s answer to the GOAT debate might just be the most well-thought-out yet. 

Perhaps it will be Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland who shape the next epoch, but that needn’t descend into endless arguments comparing them to their predecessors. 

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