Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has hit out at the club’s hierarchy and hinted that he may move on at the end of this season – but insists support from the fans has reignited his desire to win titles again this season with the Bavarian giants.
Lewandowski, who turned 30 on Tuesday, has won eight titles in four years with Bayern, but was widely criticised in April and May after failing to score in the quarter and semi-finals of the Champions League, against Sevilla and Real Madrid respectively, in two-legged ties.
Lewandowski, last season’s top-scorer in the Bundesliga with 29 goals in 30 league games, then shocked the club in May when his agent Pini Zahavi revealed the Poland star’s desire to seek “a new challenge”.
“In April, May, almost everyone took a shot at me,” Lewandowski told German magazine Sport Bild.
“I felt no protection from the club and felt alone in the situation. I didn’t score in two or three important games and suddenly it was ‘fire at will against Lewandowski’.”
In an apparent dig at Bayern’s president Uli Hoeness and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lewandowski added: “I didn’t see anyone behind me at the time. Neither of the bosses defended me.”
This is the first time the striker has commented on his desire to leave Bayern, whose senior figures have repeatedly said there is no possibility of him leaving before his contract expires in 2021.
Lewandowski now says the support from Munich fans has given him fresh motivation to win titles when Bayern kick off the new German league season on Friday by hosting fellow Champions League side Hoffenheim.
“I’m back putting my heart into Bayern. I noticed here in Munich how the fans are behind me and I realised, they still want me,” he said.
And Lewandowski played down the significance of working with Zahavi, one of the most powerful agents in world football, after parting ways with his previous agent of 10 years in late February.
“That does not mean that he has to fix a transfer for me – there are enough things that a consultant can take care of,” said Lewandowski.
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara insists starting the new season strongly was important for the German giants, who certainly did that with a 5-0 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFL- Supercup on Sunday.
“We wanted this trophy. We wanted to start the season very strong and we did it,” said Spaniard Alcantara after Robert Lewandowski’s hat-trick led the way in the rout on Sunday.
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However, Kovac told Sky Sports Germany: “There’s nothing new with Robert, it’s clear that he will not leave this club because we have a top striker and we certainly do not want to give him away.
“We want to achieve a lot with him. He is a great footballer, who has achieved a lot in the Bundesliga, scored many goals – and now in the new season certainly will score many goals.”
Lewandowski has a contract with Bayern until 2021 and Kovac added: “It’s right that Robert considers going elsewhere but he has a contract here…he will fulfil as long as possible.”
The Pole has netted more than 100 times for the Bavarian club in all competitions since joining from Dortmund in 2014 and Kovac added: “Robert stands for success and for goals – and he will prove that in the future.”