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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona hopes to continue its attacking performances led by its Polish top scorer Robert “Levangollski” when he visits Cadiz, the last-placed player in the fifth stage of the Spanish Football Championship, while Real Madrid begins a period of several weeks in the absence of its top scorer and international captain Karim Benzema, who is injured.
After being tied negatively in the first phase of the current season, Barcelona hit hard in the following four matches in all competitions, scoring 16 goals, half of which were signed by Lewandowski, including 5 goals in the local league and three goals against Viktoria Plzen at the start of his team’s Champions League campaign.
With this triple, Lewandowski became the first player to score a “hat-trick” in the Champions League with three different teams (Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the former Germans).
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez praised him, saying, “I don’t know if he is the best striker in Europe, but for us he is the best.”
“He makes the team better, helps us build attacks, puts pressure on the ball carrier and brings many solutions up front. He is a full-fledged player and we are proud to have him with us.”
“Robert is always hungry to score and win.”
Lewandowski, 34, joined the Catalan team from Bayern Munich for 45 million euros. Xavi commented on this matter, saying, “We never doubted Robert’s capabilities, whether in terms of price or age. He is an amazing player with a winning philosophy and is great with his teammates.”
He also praised French international winger Osman Dembele, who is brilliant this season, saying, “He is at the level of (Brazilian) Neymar when he was the last in the ranks of Barcelona. Few players like him. He suffered many injuries in the past seasons, and therefore I am happy for him now.”
Kadesh may be an easy victim for Lewandowski to increase his yield of goals, especially since he lost his four matches so far domestically and did not score any goal.
Xavi may resort to resting some of the first-tier players, especially as he faces a difficult test against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena next week in the second round of the Champions League.
On the other hand, Real Madrid, the defending champion last season, which made a perfect start, achieving four victories in a row, begins a period of time in the absence of Benzema, a strong candidate for the Golden Ball for the best player for 2022, due to a muscle injury he suffered during his wide team’s victory over Celtic, Scotland 3-0. In the last house, and will keep him out of the stadiums until the end of this month.
The responsibility for scoring the goals will rest with the Brazilian duo Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo and the Belgian winger Eden Hazard.
Vinicius, who scored the only goal for his team against Liverpool when he was crowned European champions last season, scored 4 goals in his team’s last four games and commented on this matter by saying, “I hope to become a legend in the ranks of this club.”
“I can stay here for a long time and enter records, as Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric did before me,” he added.
And whether he considers himself among the best players in the world now, he replied, “I leave this answer to others. I feel that I am in the right place at the moment, but I maintain my modesty and calmness.”
Player in the spotlight: Antoine Griezmann
Atletico Madrid’s French striker Antoine Griezmann has been limited to playing the reserve role in all his team’s matches since the beginning of the current season. Griezmann managed to give his team a valuable victory at the beginning of his continental campaign in the Champions League when he scored the winning goal against Porto 2-1 in the 101st minute. The goal is the third for Griezmann in a period of 138 minutes he played this season.
As for the number of minutes given to him by Argentine coach Diego Simeone, the French World Cup winner replied, “You have to ask the coach. I’m here to do my job. All I can do is participate and make a difference.”
Figures and Statistics
0 – The number of goals conceded by Villarreal this season. It is the only team in the five major leagues to achieve this.
15 – The number of matches that Valladolid did not win before scoring their first victory after this series against Almeria 1-0 last Monday.
651: The number of days between two goals for Belgian Eden Hazard in the Champions League after scoring the third goal against Celtic. The last goal scored by Hazard in the Champions League before that was a penalty kick against Inter on November 25, 2020.
© 2022 AFP
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