Robert Lewandowski has been overwhelmed by the influx of young talent at Barcelona and believes there is no better place for young players to flourish.
The 34-year-old Poland captain was brought in from Bayern Munich to quickly turn things around and give Barcelona a reliable scorer in the short term.
But Barcelona also have a long-term vision, with players like Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde becoming first-team players as teenagers.
Pedri arrived from Las Palmas in 2020 and quickly assimilated into the senior team, bypassing the system at La Masia, Barcelona’s academy, because he was already considered so advanced.
However, most of them have completed years of training in the academy system, which quickly turns out top-class players.
Lewandowski now counts on these players as teammates and says their Barcelona style of play is “noticeably different” from other youngsters in the game.
“I’m impressed with the fact that at that age you can be so mature in football,” Lewandowski told Polish online sports channel Kanal Sportowy.
“I don’t mean mental maturity. I meant if they thought differently about football. I wouldn’t even compare if there are differences.
“A man cannot change his age. People abroad who are 18 years old can no longer think the way they were 26. People here live and grow up in the same way. However, thanks to these academies, it is much easier for them.
“Being well prepared at 18 and really talented, they can reach a higher level. In addition, they are well acquainted with the world of football, which Polish players miss so much.”
3 – Ansu Fati (two assists) and Robert Lewandowski (one) have scored more goals than any other duo in La Liga this season. Connection. pic.twitter.com/fBR1NgfUuV
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 1, 2022
Lewandowski touched on a variety of topics in interviews and said he intends to continue playing the sport once his playing days are over.
One day he may find a job as a manager and his experience at Barcelona should stand him in good stead.
“For a young player, this is the best opportunity to watch experienced players in order to become one of them in the future,” Lewandowski said.
Such players also point to a brighter future for the Spanish national team with the possible emergence of a new golden generation.
4. Spain will start the Nations League with four first-timers born in 2000 or later: Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia, Pedri González and Gavi. Freshness.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 24, 2022
At the level of the first team, Barcelona are trying to knock Real Madrid out of their place.
Madrid won last year’s La Liga title and added the Champions League to it, and Xavi’s mid-season arrival was a watershed moment for a Barcelona side that had a rocky start under former head coach Ronald Koeman.
Xavi’s Barcelona are level with Madrid on 19 points in the first seven rounds of this campaign, and the two current leaders will face off at the Santiago Bernabéu on 16 October in the first Clasico of the season.
Lewandowski scored the only goal against Mallorca on Saturday, and the 1-0 win showed Barcelona have the tenacity to complement their more obvious flair.
The late-season recruit said he was “positively surprised” by how intense his first training session at Barcelona was after a “tough” last season for the club.
Lewandowski is confident that Xavi knows exactly what needs to be done to make Barcelona win trophies again.
“He knows last season didn’t go the way he dreamed and I can see that he wants to make things right,” Lewandowski said.
“Mentally they were really focused, but their bodies couldn’t handle it. I think with every week and every match we will grow and I strongly believe that things will get better with time.”