Robert Lewandowski is ‘the best player in the world’ not Lionel Messi, says Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus… as stars prepare for battle in Champions League quarter-finals
- Bayern Munich face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday
- Lotthar Matthaus says striker Robert Lewandowski is the best player in the world
- The tournament’s top scorer is aiming to outgun Ballon d’Or holder Lionel Messi
- Matthaus praised Messi’s ‘genius’ but expects Barca to hold few fears for Bayern
Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has been replaced by Robert Lewandowski as the world’s best player, Lothar Matthaus has insisted.
Bayern and Germany legend Matthaus believes Lewandowski will lead the Bundesliga giants to victory over Messi’s side in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday and win the next Ballon d’Or.
The 1990 World Cup winner told Bild: ‘Messi faces his successor as the best player in the world: Robert Lewandowski. He is the best player, not just the best forward.
Robert Lewandowski (left) has scored ten more goals than rival Lionel Messi (right) this season
Lewandowski has scored at an average rate three minutes quicker than Messi so far this season
‘The Barca of today is no longer the same as before. They have Messi, of course. A player like him is always capable of genius.
LEWANDOWSKI VS MESSI IN NUMBERS THIS SEASON
Lewandowski: 44 games, 53 goals, eight assists
Messi: 31 games, 43 goals, 25 assists
Right-footed goals: Lewandowski 68 per cent, Messi ten per cent
Left-footed goals: Messi 90 per cent, Lewandowski nine per cent
Goals from headers: Lewandowski 12, Messi none
Goals from direct free-kicks: Messi five, Lewandowski one
Minutes per goal or assist: Lewandowski 63 mins, Messi 66 mins
‘But he alone will not be enough against this Bayern. Barcelona do not scare me.’
Lewandowski is the runaway top scorer in this season’s competition with 13 goals, adding another double as Bayern battered Chelsea 4-1 on Saturday to cruise to a 7-1 aggregate win in the round of 16.
Messi has only scored three times in this season’s Champions League, although he has matched Lewandowski’s total of four assists and scored Barca’s second as they eased to a 3-1 home win against Napoli to set up a meeting with Bayern.
Lewandowski’s 53 goals in just 44 matches in all competitions this season helped Bayern to clinch the Bundesliga at a canter and win all six of their Champions League group stage games.
Messi has also been excellent in a more troubled season for Barca, netting 43 goals in 31 appearances.
The club’s all-time leading scorer could not save the out-of-sorts Spanish giants from finishing second in La LIga with a poor run of form at the end of the campaign.
Lewandowski had been hotly-tipped to succeed Messi as the winner of the Ballon d’Or before organisers France Football axed this year’s ceremony after the coronavirus pandemic heavily affected the season.
Lothar Matthaus has had plenty of glory with Bayern and believes they are on the brink of more
Now a pundit, Matthaus has tipped Bayern and Lewandowski to comfortably see off Barcelona