Robert Lewandowski says a mixture of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would be “perfection” as a coach, having worked under both during his time in the Bundesliga.
Klopp signed Lewandowski for Borussia Dortmund in 2010, and the Polish international left to join Guardiola at current club Bayern Munich four years and 103 goals later.
With 36 goals in 31 appearances for Bayern this season, the 31-year-old is in the form of his life – and he says Klopp’s focus on him in training was vital in his goalscoring development.
“At Dortmund we bet that if I score 10 goals [in training] then Jurgen Klopp gives me €50,” Lewandowski told the Guardian.
“The first training sessions, I score three or four. Then after five, six, seven sessions I score seven, eight. Then after three months I score every training more like 10.
“After a few weeks Jurgen said: ‘No more, it’s too much for me. I don’t want to pay you any more.’ That was part of my mentality. That was very helpful for me. And good in another way.
“Before I had a lot of problems with my body language – being more a part of the game and training. My body language was the same. Sometimes you have to be more angry. For me that was never going to happen.
“I had to change. That was under Klopp. He told me sometimes he didn’t know if I was angry or happy.
“Nobody likes changing something in yourself. That was not easy. But I knew if I wanted to be a better player and move to the next step in my career I had to start.
“He is an amazing guy. It doesn’t matter what he says: you believe him. Everything is from the heart.”
It was at Bayern that Lewandowski fully matured. While he was always prolific at Dortmund, each of his last four seasons has brought more goals than even his best year in black and yellow, and he is now on track for his best season ever.
“I learned a lot from Pep,” he explained.
“We spoke a lot about tactics and for me that was something new. I knew that if I could play for Guardiola with his mind and his ideas – about tactics, about strikers – that it would be good for me.
“In modern football it’s very difficult to play without a striker. I’ve not seen that for a few years.
“They [Guardiola and Klopp] are different trainers but if you make a mix from both it would be perfection.”