Guardiola lavishes 'pro' praise on Lewandowski

Guardiola helped develop the careers of four-time world player of the year Messi and Iniesta.

Tuesday February 9 2016

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebrates with the Bayern Munich maskot "Baerli" after their German first division Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, on September 22, 2015. PHOTO | CHRISTOF STACHE |

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebrates with the Bayern Munich maskot "Baerli" after their German first division Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, on September 22, 2015. PHOTO | CHRISTOF STACHE |  AFP

By AFP
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BERLIN

Forget Lionel Messi, Andrea Iniesta, Philipp Lahm or Manuel Neuer — superstar coach Pep Guardiola says Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is the most professional player he has ever worked with.

Guardiola helped develop the careers of four-time world player of the year Messi and Iniesta, whose goal won the 2010 World Cup for Spain, during his four-year reign coaching Barcelona.

Since coaching Bayern Munich in 2013, Guardiola has regularly switched Lahm, Germany's 2014 World Cup winning captain, from left-back to midfield, dubbing him "the most intelligent player" he has worked with.

And Guardiola says Neuer is "the best" goalkeeper he has ever coached.

But it is Poland striker Lewandowski, who Guardiola says is the most dedicated to his profession.

"He is the most professional player I have ever met," said Guardiola, ahead of Bayern's German Cup quarter-final at second-division Bochum on Wednesday.

"In his head, he thinks about the right food, sleep and training: 24 hours a day.

"He is always there, never injured, because he focuses on these things.

"He always knows what is important to be in the best condition."

Lewandowski has a contract at Bayern until 2019, but has been linked with a host of top clubs including Manchester City, who Guardiola will coach next season, and Real Madrid.

There has been speculation in the English media that Lewandowski will follow Guardiola, who has won 19 titles as coach of either Bayern or Barcelona, to Manchester.

Poland's captain has been a revelation this season with 19 goals in 19 league games in a total of 29 goals in all competitions for the Bavarian giants.
He hit five in nine spectacular minutes against Wolfsburg last September which set four Bundesliga records.

But Guardiola admits it was not easy for the Polish hot-shot to settle when he first came into Bayern's star-studded squad in 2014 after leaving rivals Dortmund.

"But I was always very, very pleased with him, from the first moment," added Guardiola.

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