It was just another day at the office for Robert Lewandowski. He bagged the opener in a 2-0 victory at Union Berlin but his performance was hardly memorable.
The striker had fewer touches (33) than any other Bayern Munich starter on Sunday and managed only two attempts at goal, getting on the scoresheet from the spot with one of them.
Yet, his strike held plenty of significance.
In converting the penalty that Leon Goretzka won, Lewandowski notched up his 40th goal of the season in club football, marking the fifth consecutive time he’s reached that milestone.
The only other players to celebrate that accomplishment in the 21st century?
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
For over a decade their duopoly has ruled the world of football, fending off confrontations from pretenders along the way.
The likes of Neymar, Gareth Bale, Mohamed Salah, Luis Suarez and even Radamel Falcao have, at various junctures, threatened to force their way into that exclusive bracket but none were able to sustain a challenge.
That’s precisely why Lewandowski’s accomplishment carries so much weight. The Poland international is arguably the finest striker in the modern era and has consistently proved his quality season after season since his emergence.
His numbers in the last five years though have catapulted him into a new stratosphere, heights that only Messi and Ronaldo have scaled among the current crop of superstars.
It’s not just about the goals either. At 31, Lewandowski is only a year younger than Messi. It takes great dedication to maintain such a standard of fitness, avoid serious injury and remain sharp for every outing.
That level of commitment and mental strength can’t be understated.
What’s remarkable is that Lewandowski appears to be in the form of his life when he should really be slowing down.