Robert Lewandowski aims to brush aside speculation about his Bayern Munich future by focusing on making up for his Euro 2016 disappointment with Poland at the World Cup in Russia.
The 29-year-old is coming off an impressive season which saw him finish as the Bundesliga’s top scorer for 2017/18 with 29 goals. He scored 41 times in 48 matches in all competitions for Bayern.
The star striker has a point to prove in Russia after netting just once in the finals of Euro 2016 as Poland exited in the quarter-finals.
An early goal in the last eight defeat to eventual winners Portugal was all Lewandowski had to show for five games in France, but he says there is a “big difference” in 2018.
“I wasn’t as fresh in France,” he said on Wednesday at Poland’s World Cup training camp.
“I’m sure that training will be better now and that I’ll be fresh and dynamic at the right time.
“I started preparing for the World Cup much earlier.”
With 16 goals in ten appearances on the road to Russia, Lewandowski was the top scorer in Europe’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers as Poland, currently ranked 10th in the world, finished top of their group.
However, his agent Pini Zahavi has stirred up transfer rumours by saying Bayern have been informed Lewandowski, who has a Bayern contract until 2021, wants a “new challenge”, reportedly sparking interest from a string of top clubs.
The striker told reporters in Arlamow, southern Poland, that his focus is solely on the World Cup — “I’m not thinking about club matters” — and wants Poland to improve on their third-place finishes at the 1974 and 1982 finals.
Poland, under head coach Adam Nawalka, have a realistic chance of qualifying from Group H, opening their campaign against Senegal in Moscow on June 19 before facing Colombia and Japan.
“It doesn’t matter if we have a stronger team now than two years ago at the Euro,” he said.
“We’re playing against better rivals, must be able to deal with problems and get out of serious situations.”
For now, the focus is on learning more about their group rivals, especially Colombia and Lewandowski’s Bayern team-mate James Rodriguez, the top-scorer at the Brazil 2014 finals, who Poland face in Kazan on June 24.
“I’ve got some information about our opponents, but we still have a lot of time to analyse these teams,” said Lewandowski.
“We can’t clutter our heads too much. I know individual players, but less about the style of how these teams play.
“I want the team to play a good tournament and fans to be proud of us, we’ll see what we can achieve.”