Robert Lewandowski scored Bayern Munich’s first goal in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Union Berlin.
In doing so, he also joined some ultra-exclusive company.
Lewandowski has now scored at least 40 goals across all competitions in five straight seasons in one of Europe’s major leagues. The only others to do so? Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi owns the record with 10 consecutive campaigns with 40 or more goals, a streak that will end this season unless Barcelona and La Liga can return amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Affix an asterisk if you’re so inclined.) Ronaldo, meanwhile, scored over 40 goals for eight straight seasons with Real Madrid before falling short of that number his first season with Juventus.
Lewandowski is the top scorer in Europe this season, and let’s put his achievement in context. Zlatan Ibrahimović has only scored 40 or more goals in a season twice. Barcelona star Luis Suárez has only done it once. Real Madrid great Raúl never did.
Neither have Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Agüero, five of the best strikers in Premier League history. Diego Maradona’s season high in Europe? Twenty-three goals, with Barcelona in 1982-83.
German legend Gerd Müller did it six times, while Portuguese icon Eusébio did it five. But neither strung together more than three consecutive seasons of 40 or more goals.
Yes, there are more games, more competitions and more centralized power clubs in present-day soccer. But Lewandowski has been amazing for a decade, and this only strengthens his all-time résumé.
It certainly strengthens Bayern Munich’s bid for a record-extending eighth straight Bundesliga title. And thank goodness we finally have actual soccer games and feats to talk about again.
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