Robert Lewandowski has put an end to speculation linking him with a move away from Bayern Munich, saying his heart belongs to the club.
Lewandowski, 30, was linked with a host of European sides over the summer, but after sitting down with new head coach Niko Kovac and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic he quickly made up his mind to stay at Bayern.
Watch: All 29 of Lewandowski's 2017/18 Bundesliga goals
"I had a really good discussion with Niko Kovac," Lewandowski last season’s top Bundesliga scorer with 29 goals, told SportBild. "He understood how I felt. The coach explained to me how he wanted to play. I liked that, and because of that decided I wanted to stay. My mind set changed that day. I know I’ve made mistakes, but I’m only human."
Lewandowski also expressed how much it meant to him to to hear Salihamidzic issue a hands-off warning to the myriad top clubs reportedly in pursuit of the Pole and brand him "the best striker in the world."
"I realised how important I am for Bayern and they weren’t going to let me leave," he explained. "That shows the level and stability of the club. That was the point I realised I wanted to give my all for the club once more. I’m looking forward to my future at the club and in Munich. My heart is fully at Bayern again."
It goes without saying a happy Lewandowski is good news for Bayern. Since moving to Munich from Borussia Dortmund four years ago, he has scored 155 goals in 197 appearances, helping Bayern win four successive Bundesliga titles, the DFB Cup and three Supercups in a row. In his first two outings of the 2018/19 campaign, the Warsaw native has already struck four times, following up his 33-minute hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Supercup with the match-winning goal against Drochtersen/Assel in the DFB Cup first round. Lewangoalski is back.
"I prefer to answer critics on the pitch," Lewandowski continued, touching on the disparaging remarks he faced after failing to find the net in Bayern’s 2018 UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid. "People can criticise me for not scoring, but not for lack of effort. Last season I had a patellar tendon problem for seven months. I could hardly shoot with my right foot, always avoided it in training and would just struggle through the pain in matches. I had to battle more against my own body than against opponents. I seemed to spend more time with physios than in training or on the pitch. These problems affected me mentally and on the pitch, but I always gave 100 per cent."
Enjoying full match fitness once more and firing on all cylinders, Lewandowski is fully focused on the 2018/19 campaign, and an improved showing after Bayern won the Bundesliga but came up short in the Champions League and domestic cup last term. The Poland captain also feels he has a point to prove – to himself more than anything – after firing a blank in his three group-stage games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
"The end of last season wasn’t good," three-time Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski said. "Not scoring in the semi-final against Real, losing the cup final, not scoring at the World Cup. That’s been motivation for me. I love playing football. I also know I need to work to be more successful. I want to push my boundaries and win more titles."