Robert Lewandowski finally speaks out about his failed transfer to Blackburn Rovers in 2010, now imagine if they deal went ahead.
Over 10 years ago, the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Grimsvotn ended up stopping the Polish star from potentially signing for the then-Premier League club.
Lewandowski, who has gone on to have an incredible career at the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, had the chance to play at Ewood Park, with the club at the time managed by Sam Allardyce.
The 32 year old striker wanted to travel to England to see the training ground and even meet the manager.
However his flight to Lancashire ended up being cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash cloud which stopped him from flying to England.
Recalling his talks with Blackburn, he revealed: “I had the opportunity to join Blackburn.
“But I wanted to see how Blackburn looked, the training ground, the place I met with Sam Allardyce.
“It was in Poland after a game. I thought he was a good guy, a very good coach.
“He was prepared to take a young player who was something new and might be something special.
“He wanted to come to Poland to see me. That was nice.”
Lewandowski continued: “There were a lot of offers to think about when I was leaving Poznan. I wanted to know if I went there, ‘What would I get? What would I learn?’
“I think it would have been fine if I had gone to Blackburn, but I would have liked to go and see the training centre, the stadium. I couldn’t go because of the cloud. It was the volcano. The volcano with the ash cloud.
“It was one week and nobody could fly in Europe. The flight was booked, but we couldn’t leave. It changed my life. If I had gone to Blackburn maybe I would have stayed there.”
The prolific frontman went onto pen a deal with Dortmund – worth a reported £5 million – and scored goals for fun, winning two Bundesliga titles.
He then secured a switch to Bayern Munich where he became arguably the best striker in the world, debate away…
Though Lewandowski’s legendary career could have been very, very different had he signed for Blackburn way back when.
Sam Allardyce recalls waiting at Manchester airport for Robert Lewandowski.
“I went with my chief scout Martyn Glover and it was quite a trip,” Allardyce told talkSPORT.
“We were very impressed with the player, the chairman did a deal for about 8million euros with the club and he was due to fly over.
“The ash cloud started in Iceland and all flights got cancelled, so he couldn’t get on the flight.
“We were waiting for him at Manchester airport and then a week or two later he signed for Borussia Dortmund.
“I didn’t remember this until reading an article and Lewandowski brought it up. It just reminded me how close we came to one of the world’s top goalscorers.”
“I thought Allardyce was a good guy, a very good coach,” Lewandowski once told the Mail.
“The flight was booked but we couldn’t leave. Did it change my life? Yeah, maybe! If I’d gone there then perhaps I would have stayed. But then I found out about Dortmund, and that was the next step.”
As Robert Lewandowski finally speaks about his failed transfer to Blackburn in 2010, let’s take a look at his stats and honours.
1996–1997 – Partyzant Leszno
1997–2004 – MKS Varsovia Warsaw
2005 – Delta Warsaw – 17 games (4 goals)
2005–2006 – Legia Warsaw II – 12 games (2 goals)
2006–2008 – Znicz Pruszków – 59 games (36 goals)
2008–2010 Lech Poznań – 58 games (32 goals)
2010–2014 – Borussia Dortmund – 131 games (74 goals)
2014– Bayern Munich – 216 games (198 goals)
2007 – Poland U19
2008 – Poland U21 – 3 games (0 goals)
2008– Poland – 118 games (66 goals)
III liga: 2006–07
Polish Cup: 2008–09
Polish SuperCup: 2009
Bundesliga: 2010–11, 2011–12
UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2012–13
Bundesliga: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
DFB-Pokal: 2015–16, 2018–19, 2019–20
DFL-Supercup: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
UEFA Champions League: 2019–20
UEFA Super Cup: 2020
FIFA Club World Cup: 2020
The Best FIFA Men’s Player: 2020
FIFA Ballon d’Or fourth place: 2015
FIFA FIFPro World11: 2020; nominee: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball: 2020
FIFA World Cup qualification top goalscorer: 2018
IFFHS World’s Best Man Player: 2020
IFFHS World’s Best Top Goal Scorer: 2020
IFFHS World’s Best International Goal Scorer: 2015
IFFHS Men’s World Team: 2020
IFFHS World’s Best Man Player of the Decade (2011–2020): 7th place
IFFHS World’s Best Top Goal Scorer of the Second Decade (2011–2020): 3rd place
IFFHS World Team of the Decade: 2011–2020
IFFHS UEFA Team of the Decade: 2011–2020
UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: 2019–20
UEFA Champions League Forward of the Season: 2019–20
UEFA Champions League top goalscorer: 2019–20
UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2019–20
UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2019–20
UEFA Team of the Year: 2019, 2020
UEFA Euro qualifying top goalscorer: 2016
UEFA Euro qualifying Best Player: 2016
ESM Team of the Year: 2019–20
World Soccer Player of the Year: 2020
FourFourTwo Player of the Year: 2020
Tuttosport Golden Player: 2020
The Guardian Best Footballer In The World: 2020
Goal 50: 2019–20
Globe Soccer Best Player of the Year: 2020
European Sportsperson of the Year: 2020
Bundesliga Player of the Season: 2016–17, 2019–20
Bundesliga Goal of the Month: March 2019, August 2019
Bundesliga top goalscorer: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
Bundesliga Player of the Month: August 2019, October 2020
Footballer of the Year in Germany: 2020
VDV Bundesliga Player of the Season: 2012–13, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2019–20
VDV Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
DFB-Pokal top goalscorer: 2011–12, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
Bayern Munich Player of the Season: 2019–20
Polish Footballer of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020
Polish Sports Personality of the Year: 2015, 2020
Ekstraklasa Best Player: 2009
Ekstraklasa top goalscorer: 2009–10
Ekstraklasa Goal of the season: 2008–09
Polish Young Player of the Year: 2008
II liga top goalscorer: 2007–08
III liga top goalscorer: 2006–07