Robert Lewandowski’s arrival in LaLiga also means the arrival of another rivalry: the one he has with David Alaba when it comes to free kicks.
The pair famously used to stay behind after Bayern training sessions and challenge each other
David Alaba and Robert Lewandowski know each other well after spending seven successful seasons together at Bayern Munich, winning the Bundesliga every year. But this year, there can be only one winner on opposing sides of the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry. Lewandowski’s arrival in LaLiga also means the arrival of another rivalry: the one he has with Alaba when it comes to free kicks. The pair famously used to stay behind after Bayern training sessions and challenge each other. They took their training competitions seriously, and things would get heated as they tried to one-up each other. Now, they’ll have to do so on the pitch, as they share a league but not a dressing room anymore. In this particular contest, the Austrian has taken the early lead after scoring a free-kick in Real Madrid’s opening game of the season, a comeback win over Almeria. Over to you, Lewandowski.
When it came to penalties, Robert was the undisputed king
For Bayern, Alaba was the no.1 set piece taker, even with the Polish striker on the pitch. He scored 11 free-kick goals during his time in Bavaria. Lewandowski, meanwhile, scored six free-kicks in Germany, five with Bayern and one for Borussia Dortmund. So he’s got some ground to make up in Spain. However, when it came to penalties, Robert was the undisputed king, scoring 58 from 64. Alaba converted just three of six attempts. Alaba gives Real Madrid something they haven’t had in a while: a credible threat from direct free-kicks. He’s already got two in a Real Madrid jersey, more than anyone else in the current squad, ahead of Dani Ceballos, Toni Kroos, Nacho and Marco Asensio.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 33 free-kick goals during his time in Madrid, but he took a whopping 444 attempts to reach that total, giving him a conversion rate of under eight per cent.