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Best Polish Footballers of All Time

Monday30 November 2020 | 6:30
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We will have a look at the list of the greatest Polish football players in history

Football is a popular sport in Poland. Hundreds of thousand people play football regulary or usually in the country. The first football clubs were established in early 1900s and Poland national team played their first match in 1921. Poland national football team have achived third place at 1974 and 1982 FIFA World Cups, gold medal at 1972, silver medal at 1976 and 1992 Summer Olympics. It indicates that Poland is a remarkable team in football tournaments. 

Best Polish Footballers of all Time

There have always been brilliant players in Poland who shined for their clubs and national team. We will review some of the best Polish football players ever.

Robert Lewandowski (born 21 August 1988)

The first player in our list of the

best Polish footballers of all time

is 

Robert Lewandowski

. No doubt he is one of the

greatest Polish football players

. He plays as an attacker for 

Bundesliga

 club 

Bayern Munich

 and is the captain of the Poland national team. He is renowned for his positioning, technique and finishing, and is currently regarded as one of the best players in the world, and one of the best strikers in Bundesliga history. He has scored over 500 career goals for his clubs and Poland.

After he was the best scorer in the third and second tiers of Polish football with Znicz Pruszków, Lewandowski joined first-class Lech Poznań, helping the club win the 2009–10 Ekstraklasa. In 2010, he joined

Borussia Dortmund

, where he won important trophies including two consecutive Bundesliga titles and the league's top goal scorer award.

In 2013, he also played for Dortmund in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final in which his team lost to Bayern Munich. Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season, Lewandowski agreed to join Dortmund's domestic opponents, Bayern Munich, on a free transfer. In Munich, he has won the Bundesliga title in all of the seasons of his career at the club.

Lewandowski was one of the best players in Bayern's treble including UEFA Champions League win in 2019–20. He is one of only two players who have achieved the European treble, while he was the top scorer in all three competitions.

Robert Lewandowski has been playing for Poland national team since 2008. He scored the first goal for the Poland national team during the match against San Marino. The match ended with the result of 2-0. He has played over 110 games and was a member of Poland at UEFA Euro 2012, Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Scoring 63 international goals, Lewandowski is the all-time top scorer for Poland. He has also won IFFHS World's Top International Goal Scorer of the Year Award in 2015. He has been named the Polish Player of the Year eight times.

In 2020, Lewandowski won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award. He has been named to the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season for three times, and is the joint third-highest goal scorer in the history of it. 

Lewandowski has been selected for the VDV Bundesliga Player of the Season for four times. He has netted more than 200 goals in the Bundesliga, having reached the century mark quicker than any other foreign player, and is the league's all-time best foreign goal scorer.

Furthermore, He has won Bundesliga Top Scorer Award for five times. He was awarded four Guinness World Records for the fastest five-goal record in all of the major football leagues of Europe. He scored 5 goals in 9 minutes in nine minutes against

Vfl Wolfsburg

 in 2015.

Perhaps if Polish national team was as strong as the team in 1970s and 1980s, he could win trophies with his own country like the best Polish footballers of all time who are now retired.

 

Zbigniew Kazimierz Boniek (born 3 March 1956)

One of the top Polish fooballers ever

is Zbigniew Boniek. He was a midfielder, who was also able to play frequently as a right winger and second striker. Pelé selected him as one of the 100 best living footballers in 2004.

In an 80 games in his international career, Boniek scored 24 goals and played at three consecutive World Cups, helping Poland to 3rd place in 1982 and making the Team of the Tournament.

It is no accident that he is called "Bello di Notte (Beautiful at night)". He showed his greatest skills in the most important games, and many of them were at the World Cup tournaments.

In 1978 he made his way to the team of Jacek Gmoch, and he scored two goals brought at that tournament agaisnt Mexico. Four years later, Boniek was already the leader of the team which included the best Polish footballers of all time.

The initial criticism was overshadowed by a fantastic hat-trick against Belgium - a crucial step on the way to third place. Successful performances resulted in the third place and he achieved the title of the Sportsman of the Year "Przegląd Sportowy".

His greatest achievements in club football during his career were at 

Juventus

 in Italy. He won the Serie A, Coppa Italia, European Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup, and European Super Cup between 1983 and 1985.

He was the first Polish footballer to won a confederation title and one of the first Eastern European players to do so with a club in another country. In the early 1990s he managed several Italian clubs, and also the Polish national team in 2002.

In 2019 he was inducted in the Italian Football Hall of Fame. Zbigniew Boniek is currently head of the Polish Football Association (PZPN).

Exclusive SPORTMOB video

 

Grzegorz Bolesław Lato (born 8 April 1950)

One of the greatest Polish football players in history

is Grzegorz Lato. He played as a winger and was a member of Poland's golden generation of football players who became famous in the 1970s and early 80s. It is hard to find a ranking in which Lato would not be named among the best Polish footballers of all time.

The fast right-winger spent most years of his career as a player at Stal Mielec where he appeared in the 272 league matches and netted 111 goals. Lato helped the club win the Polish league title twice and was also top scorer in the league twice.

Due to the fact that the Polish FA had banned transfers abroad until a player was 30 and that hindered Lato's opportunities to show off his talents on a weekly basis for a bigger spectators on the continent.

During a decade, he was a member of Poland at five important tournaments. He belongs to a small group of medalists in two tournaments which has made him one of the most

famous polish footballers ever

.

In both 1974 and 1982 he was a leading figure in the team.  He achieved gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich and reached to the third-place at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.

His best performance during his career was at the 1974 World Cup, where he was the best scorer and the only Polish player to-date to have won the award. After retiring from his playing career he had a short spell as manager in different clubs in and out of Poland.

Between 2001 and 2005, Grzegorz Lato was a Polish Senator for the Rzeszow region as a member of Democratic Left Alliance.

On 30 October 2008, he was elected president of Polish Football Association (PZPN). As president of the PZPN he managed to organize Euro 2012 tournament, which was co-hosted by Poland. He was finally succeeded by Zbigniew Boniek on 26 October 2012.

 

 

Kazimierz Deyna (23 October 1947 – 1 September 1989)

One of the most famous polish footballers ever is Kazimierz Deyna. He played as an attacking midfielder in the playmaker role and was one of the most talented players of his generation, due to his brilliant vision.

He had the ability to score from unusual positions, for example directly from a corner. Because of his achievements and talents, he was chosen Football Player of the Year several times by Polish fans.

He was the brain of the fantastic team of Kazimierz Górski - the most spectacular team in the history of Polish performances at major tournaments. Deyna played for Poland on 97 games, scoring 41 goals, and usually was the captain of the team.

He was the third player of the year after the success of the white and reds in the "France Football" poll in 1974 behind Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer.. In the clash with Italy, he scored one of the most beautiful goals in the history of our football.

In 1978, he was the captain of Poland at the FIFA World Cup in Argentina, where the team reached the second stage. His excellent performance was affected by a missed penalty against Argentina in that tournament.

He died in a car accident in San Diego, California, at the age of 41. In 1994, he was chosen by the Polish Football Association (PZPN) and the readers of all Polish sports-related newspapers as the Polish Football Player of All Time. 

His number 10 is retired by his former clubs, 

Legia Warsaw

 and the Sockers. One of the

best polish soccer players in history

was buried in Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery in June 2012.

 

 

Jakub Błaszczykowski (born 14 December 1985)

One of the

best Polish footballers of all time 

is Jakub Błaszczykowski. He played as a winger for Wisła Kraków and the Poland national team.

He started his career as a football  player at Wisła Kraków proving himself at a young age. In 2007, he joined Borussia Dortmund, where he spent most of his career. He has played in over 250 matches and won two Bundesliga titles, two DFL-Supercups, and one DFB-Pokal.

Błaszczykowski was twice named Polish Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2010. With 108 appearances, he is the second most capped player for Poland, and he was the captain of Poland at UEFA Euro 2012. He also played at UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Błaszczykowski reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. The team was led by Błaszczykowski in the attacking role. He has an interesting statistics – he has scored for seven goals in the matches of Poland in the European Championships, he has assisted five goals. This is why he is in the list of

greatest polish football players in history

of Poland.

 

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Włodzimierz Włodek Leonard Lubański (born 28 February 1947)

Another one who is among the best polish soccer players in history is Włodzimierz Lubański. He played as an attacker and scoring 48 goals he is the second best goal scorer in Poland's football history behind Robert Lewandowski. Lubański played 75 matches for Poland national team between 1963 and 1980.

He was one of the members of Poland national team that won the 1972 Summer Olympics., He was awarded the title of Merited Master of Sport of the USSR in 1972. Lubański was vice-chairman at Polonia Warszawa for about three months.

 

Exclusive SPORTMOB video

 

Andrzej Szarmach (born 3 October 1950)

Andrzej Szarmach played in the Polish national team during its "golden age" along with the other

best Polish footballers ever

.

In the 1970s, with Grzegorz Lato at his right, Robert Gadocha at his left, and Kazimierz Deyna in support, Szarmach profited from the absence of Włodzimierz Lubański to lead the Polish attack, which was the best at 1974 World Cup with sixteen goals.

While Lato, one of the best Polish footballers of all time, finished first in the tournament with seven goals, Szarmach, had netted five goals and was influential at the competition. Two years later at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, he kept his status, winning the second place and the title of best player of the tournament, scoring nine goals.

He also played at the 1978 and 1982 World Cups. In the latter World Cup, he was irritated by the low trust of manager Antoni Piechniczek. Hence he showed a cold goal celebration in the third place match.

Andrzej Szarmach had a kind of Gallic style and so simply suit at AJ Auxerre. He draw the attention of Guy Roux and of the Burgundian public, by scoring 94 goals between 1980 and 1985.

After a short spell at Guingamp and a whole of 32 goals in 61 games with the Polish country wide team, one of the best polish football players ever decided to start his career as a manager. He managed Clermont-Ferrand, then Châteauroux in particular in the second division.

 

 

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Roman Jacek Kosecki (born 15 February 1966)

One of the best Polish footballers of all time is Roman Kosecki. He played as an attacker. In his club career, Kosecki played for RKS URSUS, Gwardia Warsaw, Legia Warsaw, Galatasaray, CA Osasuna, Atlético Madrid, Nantes, Montpellier, and the Chicago Fire. 

He came to Major League Soccer in the Fire's inaugural season in 1998, joining fellow Polish internationals Peter Nowak and Jerzy Podbrozny. 

Kosecki proceeded to score the first goal in Fire's history in a 2–0 win over the Miami Fusion. He then helped the club to the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup double. Kosecki played two seasons in MLS, scoring 12 goals and 19 assists in league play, before retiring as a player.

Kosecki played 69 times, netting 19 goals from 1988 to 1995 for Poland national team. 

Roman Kosecki, who is one of the greatest polish football players in history was a Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (Polish lower chamber of parliament) from Civic Platform in 2005.

Kosecki ran for the position of president of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) in 2012 but lost to Polish soccer legend Zbigniew Boniek. Boniek however appointed him to vice president of youth development. His son Jakub Kosecki plays for Adana Demirspor.

 

 

Jan Urban (born 14 May 1962)

The next one in the list of best Polish footballers of all time is Jan Urban who played as an attacker.

Urban was born in Jaworzno and was one of six children in a poor mining family. In his own country he played for Zagłębie Sosnowiec and Górnik Zabrze and won three consecutive Ekstraklasa titles with the latter in which he scored 38 goals, including a career-best 17 in 1987–88.

His professional career was closely associated to Górnik Zabrze and Osasuna, and he also coached and worked with the latter club in various ways. Urban was a member of Poland at the 1986  FIFA World Cup.

In the summer of 1989, Urban, as one of the top polish footballers ever moved to Spain and signed a contract with CA Osasuna, going on to be one of the most important players of Navarre's Team in the following decade.

He scored 13 goals in 34 matches in his second season to help the club stand in the fourth position in La Liga which is best-ever ranking for the club. As a result, they were qualified to the UEFA Cup and one of the greatest polish football players in history had a hat-trick against Real Madrid on 30 December 1990, in a 4–0 away win in that season.

Jan Urban joined Osasuna in 1994–95 season in the second division, but returned to the first division with Real Valladolid in the winter transfer window. 

He ended his career as a player at the age of 36 after playing one season for CD Toledo in the second division of the Spanish league, VfB Oldenburg in Germany and former side Gornik. It is worth mentioning that he is now a football manager.

 

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Jerzy Henryk Dudek (born 23 March 1973)

The last one in our list of the

best Polish footballers of all time

is Jerzy Dudek who played as a goalkeeper. He began his career in his home country and then he went on to have prosperous spells in the Netherlands and England.

He won the Champions League with 

Liverpool

 in 2005 and played in 186 matches during six seasons at the club. He also spent four seasons at 

Real Madrid

.

His excellent performance against

Milan

in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, especially in the penalty shoot-outs, was probably one of his best appearances during his career as a player. 

One of the top polish footballers ever played 60 matches for Poland. He is the second most-capped goalkeeper in Poland and played for his country at the 2002 World Cup.

 

 

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