‘World Footballer of the Year’ Robert Lewandowski has been officially presented at his new club Barcelona, with tens of thousands of fans on hand for the big occasion at the Camp Nou.
The Poland striker Lewandowski welcomed the fans in Catalan by saying “Bon dia a tothom (good day to everyone),” DPA reported on Saturday.
“It wasn’t easy but now I am here. I am very proud to be a Barca player now. Muchas gracias,” he added in English and Spanish.
Lewandowski, 33, joined Barcelona after eight years at Bayern Munich where he won every club title on offer and bettered Gerd Müller’s single season Bundesliga scoring record to 41 goals in 2020-21.
The Catalan giants have also splashed out on Raphinha and Jules Kounde, while Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen arrived as free agents and Ousmane Dembele signed a new deal.
Blaugrana president Joan Laporta is confident Barcelona will be able to register all of their new signings after they “complied with everything” required by LaLiga.
Barca were in dire straits a year ago, with Lionel Messi leaving the club as they could not afford to keep the legendary Argentina skipper due to a financial crisis at Camp Nou.
There has been talk that La Liga may not give the green light to register Barca’s new recruits due to limits on spending.
However, Laporta does not envisage any issues after the club signed up to a hugely lucrative sponsorship deal with Spotify, and sold a percentage of LaLiga broadcast rights, merchandising rights and a stake in Barca Studios.
Laporta said in a media conference after Lewandowski was paraded on the pitch: “We have worked to be able to register all the players that we have incorporated.
“We have worked hard and well to meet the requirements that are needed for the registrations. If any further operation is needed, we will do it, but the documentation has been presented. It’s a decision that La Liga must make. We have complied with everything they require and we are confident that they will be able to sign up.”
He added: “The second sale of Barca Studios was approved because we had foreseen it. As a precaution and in anticipation of divergence in some interpretations, we have done it. To have the foresight.
“We had already planned to do the fourth lever, if it also serves to consolidate registrations better. Barca has entered these two months and operations worth 868million euros. We have positive funds, a healthy balance sheet and results also because we have made profits.
“We have made a great effort, we have had to carry out operations to sell some assets, always in a controlled manner.”
Laporta revealed that Lewandowski had to be assured his move to Barcelona would not collapse.
“When an agreement was reached with Bayern, we had a series of talks,” he said.
“Robert and his agent were concerned about whether we could register him, but I gave them comfort and told them that if we had to register one Robert would be the first. There were other clubs that offered more money and more salary to the player.”
Prolific striker Lewandowski has taken the number nine shirt that Memphis Depay wore last year, but Laporta does not feel Barca have been disrespectful to the Netherlands international.
He said: “The number nine thing was a club decision. For reasons that interest the club, for image and publicity reasons. We have considered an appropriate decision and we have made it with all respect for Memphis.”