Lewandowski Presented as New Barcelona No.9

Published August 5th, 2022 - 01:49 GMT
FC Barcelona's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski gestures during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 5, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)
FC Barcelona's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski gestures during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 5, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

Robert Lewandowski has been presented as Barcelona's new No.9 following his €50 million (£42m/$51m) transfer from Bayern Munich.

The Poland international has inherited the iconic jersey from Memphis Depay, who is being strongly linked with a move away from Camp Nou.

Lewandowski turns 34 later this month, but dismissed any suggestion that his best years are behind him at his first press conference at Barca's stadium on Thursday, having failed to score in his first three appearances for the club in pre-season.

What did Barca's new No.9 say about his Bayern move?

"I think my age is not important right now, it's just a number. I feel better than when I was 29," he said.

Barca managed to sign Lewandowski despite the ongoing financial issues which have overshadowed the team's performances on the pitch over the past year.

The club has taken dramatic steps to cut costs, including asking a number of players to accept wage cuts, but Lewandowski believes in their long-term vision under current president Joan Laporta.

"I know that Barcelona was not going through an easy time, but when I spoke with Joan and heard about the project and the way they wanted to follow, I thought that the best thing was to make the jump to Barcelona," he said.

Lewandowski added on a potential battle with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema to be top scorer in La Liga: "I'm not thinking about Real Madrid or Benzema, he's an extraordinary striker, but for me the most important thing is to win with Barcelona, not to beat him."

What has Laporta said about Depay giving up the No.9?

Depay was given the No.9 shirt at Camp Nou following his free transfer to the club last summer, but he underwhelmed in his first full season on Barca's books and is now being touted for an exit.

The Blaugrana feel that Lewandowski is a better fit for the number, having seen him score 344 goals across his seven-year spell at Bayern - and Laporta insists that Depay respects their decision.

"It has been a club decision that Robert wears No.9, we thought that this was the right decision," said the Barca chief. "With respect for Memphis Depay, who has understood perfectly."

Will Barca be able to register Lewandowski?

Laporta went on to express his confidence that Lewandowski will be registered in time for the new Liga season alongside fellow new signings such as Jules Kounde and Raphinha.

Barca have activated a number of economic levers in order to raise extra funds, and Laporta is not worried that they will exceed La Liga's salary restrictions after submitting the relevant paperwork.

"We have worked to be able to register all the new players. We have worked and I think well to be able to register. If necessary, we will do more operations," he added.

"We have presented the documentation to La Liga and we are waiting. We trust that they will be able to register the new signings."

By James Westwood


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