Marcelo and Lewandowski started at the same time in Poland. - Artur Kraszewski / APPA

  • A photo of a duel between Marcelo and Lewandowski resurfaced on twitter
  • Both players started their careers in the Polish league, where they faced each other five times
  • The Lyon defender still enjoys a very good reputation in Krakow, where his personality has won over fans

A moment of grace like Twitter can offer us from time to time. It was Saturday evening a few minutes after the improbable qualification of Lyon against Manchester City: a photo posted by a Polish internet user exhumed from the Polish championship, version 2008-2009. Red jacket, the Lyon defender Marcelo, when he defended the colors of Wisla Krakow, blue jacket Robert Lewandowski, striker of Lech Poznan, the rival club. The two seem to be saying sweet words to each other in Lech Walesa's language, and that made us want to know more, obviously.

Kto by pomyślał, że 11 lat później będą mogli się spotkać w półfinale Lidze Mistrzów

- MaciejKmita (@kmita_maciej) August 15, 2020

Five games in two years, Lewandowski advantage

Good thing the guy who posted the photo turns out to be a gold mine. He gives us the name of the photographer, a certain Kraszewski, and knows the history of the shot better than an antique museum guide. “The photo is not particularly famous in Poland, but everyone has taken it out to talk about the match between Bayern and OL since Saturday. There was a great rivalry between the two players, because they played for the top two teams in the country. Krakow won the title the first year Marcelo was there, and the next time it was Poznan who won ”. What else ? Our two zigotos have rubbed the mark five times in two years, and we can not say that the figures are very encouraging for the Lyonnais. Four wins for Poznan in five games, with a goal from “Lewa” each time.

It goes without saying that if the whole of Poland came out with this photo from the archives, it is because it makes them very funny to see the two semi-finals of the Champions League ten years later, if we look at the context of the time. “Marcelo was considered a talented defender for the Polish league, but no one imagined seeing him at this level one day. And Lewandowski, during his first season in Dortmund, everyone considered him a flop, saying he would never succeed in Germany ”. Tomasz Cwiakala, a colleague at Canal + Poland, has remained close to the Brazilian defender since his visit to Krakow. "I was the only one to speak Portuguese, for him it was unexpected, we quickly hit it off". He details for us the duel with Lewandowski:

“Marcelo, he had a very rare profile. Usually Santos players don't meet in Poland. He compared himself to Lucio [former great Brazilian defender of the 2000s], he wanted to play like him, carry the ball several meters and score goals. Besides, he scored a lot, the trainer prepared combinations on set piece just for him. When they go head-to-head with Lewandowski, it's almost head-to-head between the two best players in the championship. At the time, we considered that they had the same level, especially since they were of the same age ”.

Marcelo still adored at Wisla Krakow

If the two trajectories deviated a little when the two players left for the Bundesliga in the summer of 2010, the one who left the best memories is not necessarily the one we think. If the star of Bayern Munich has become less accessible, Marcelo continues to be very popular several years after his time at Wisla Krakow. “You won't come across a single person here who doesn't have good things to say about Marcelo. He arrived here he didn't speak a word of English, and yet he integrated very quickly. But that's not surprising when you see how open-minded he is. Look at how far he has come since his childhood ”.

Swoje 33. urodziny obchodzi dzisiaj były obrońca Wisły Kraków, Marcelo! 🎉 Z tej okazji składamy mu najlepsze życzenia - zdrowia, uśmiechu, spełnienia marzeń oraz wielu sukcesów na boisku, a także poza nim! Feliz Aniversário @ MarceloGuedes02! 🍰

- Wisła Kraków SA (@WislaKrakowSA) May 20, 2020

A long interview with the guy in the Teamlast week we had already opened our eyes to a boy that we really don't know quite well. His readings of economics books to prepare for the life after, his fierce desire to offer advanced studies to his sisters outside of football, when most Brazilian players are content to water their entourage at all costs.

A touching text in The Players Tribune

But the long text he just published on The Players Tribune goes even deeper. He tells how he was taken by the emotion while showing the photos of his small childhood accommodation in Tete, a single room that took water at the slightest downpour in Sao Vicente in the bus on the way to the stadium of Juventus. He then dwells at length on his difficult relationship with the Lyon supporters, after an incident on his return from Lisbon which almost made him leave the club last winter.

Knocked Juventus out of the @ChampionsLeague: ✅ @ MarceloGuedes02 and @OL aren't done yet.https: //

- The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 14, 2020

“I ended up regretting what had happened that day, I got carried away. So after the victory in Bordeaux at the start of the school year, I went to see the fans and I explained myself to them. I apologized and explained that if I was not the best central defender on the planet, but that I was giving my life for this club every week. It really took a weight off my shoulders ”

🗨️ Marcelo spoke with OL supporters after their victory in Bordeaux (1-2)
🤝 Towards reconciliation between the two parties? # BeINLigue1

- beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) January 11, 2020

"It was a difficult moment for him, perhaps the only black spot in his career," said Tomasz Cwiakala, very surprised by the difficulties experienced by his friend in France. In Poland, supporters of Wisla Krakow often ask him to come back to social media, and they are eternally grateful that he came back to play a charity match in 2015 while on vacation, in order to help the financially strangled club to save his skin. “This gesture meant a lot to the fans. Like participating in a movement launched by supporters to turn into socios and collect money. He did it wholeheartedly, I didn't even need to talk to him about what was going on, he knew everything ”.

"They respect each other a lot"

Can this close relationship with Krakow push Marcelo to end his old footballing days where it all began in Europe? Unlikely, as the Brazilian now spends most of his free time in the United States, where he bought a house for his after career. But as he persuades himself in the long, wide, and across in The Players Tribune, the Brazilian does not intend to cross the Atlantic empty-handed. He would see himself with a small replica of the Champions League under his arm wherever he goes.

On condition of finally emerging victorious from a duel with Lewandowski, at first? “We often talked about it together, I know there is a great deal of respect between the two,” says Tomasz. They know each other very well and it will be another very big duel ”. Which will give another nice photo to store in the keepsake box.


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