ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI has revealed how Jurgen Klopp became a 'father figure' after his dad passed away when he was a teenager.
The Bayern Munich goal machine was named the best player in the world in 2020 at last month's FIFA awards to complete his rise to the very top of the game.
It capped a long journey that began as a child when his father would make four-hour trips to take the budding striker to training.
The Poland international told The Players Tribune: "If I didn’t have parents who were willing to drive me there, my football dream would have been over before it even began.
"They were both P.E. teachers, and my dad happened to be my P.E. teacher. So after school he would drive me to training, wait two hours for my session to finish and then drive me home."
Lewandowski was just 16 when his father sadly passed away after a long illness.
He had spells playing for Delta Warsaw, Legia Warsaw II, Znicz Pruszkow and Lech Poznan before his big break with Borussia Dortmund in 2010.
Lewandowski gradually became one of the world's most complete attackers under Klopp's tutelage.
And he acknowledges that his relationship with the German was key to his progression.
Lewandowski said: "I could talk to Jurgen about anything. I could trust him. He is a family man, and he has so much empathy for what goes on in your private life."
The key? Well, Lewandowski believes it is because Klopp was a 'strict' teacher.
The 32-year-old added: "He was not content to let you be a B student, you know? Jurgen wanted A+ students. He didn’t want it for him. He wanted it for you."
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It's fair to say that nothing got past Klopp and his man-management skills.
Lewandowski said: "I remember one time we were in the dressing room after having a weekend off. And, you know, the classic trick when a player has been out drinking is to eat a lot of garlic the morning after, so that your breath doesn’t stink of alcohol. So Jurgen came in before training and began sniffing around.
"He was like a hunting dog. Sniff, sniff. Sniff, sniff.
"Finally, he said, 'I smell… something… is it garlic?'
"Of course he knew that it was. And we knew that he knew. But he just left the question hanging in the air and walked away without saying a word more.
"It was silent for a moment, and then we all looked at each other and started laughing."
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