Zbigniew Boniek, is the name of the most famous Polish football player. Boniek, also widely known Polish Pelé is one of the greatest Eastern European football players of all time. His tireless running, impeccably unique playing style, incredibly impressive winning record, great passion, and dedicated commitment towards this game – made him extremely popular and famous in the international football. In this context, this article will reveal a short biography of Zbigniew Boniek majorly depicting his contribution in the history of football.
Zawisza Bydgoszcz (1973–1975)
Widzew Łódź (1975–1982)
Club football: 367 matches, 95 goals
National team: 80 matches, 24 goals
Earlier background and club career
Zbigniew Boniek was born on 3rd March 1956. He eventually grew up in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Next, he started his football career with his birth town club, Zawisza Bydgoszcz before moving to another great Polish Club, Widzew Łódź.
While he played for Zawisza Bydgoszcz for a short span of two years, his thrashing yet powerful playing style didn't get unnoticed. Thus, he was soon approached and offered to play for Widzew Łódź, where he played for around 7 years and scored a total of 50 goals during this period (1975-1982).
Next, he took a grand step to the Italian Club Football while getting appointed by one of the most prestigious Italian football clubs, Juventus. With Juventus, Boniek has witnessed a new record of on-field success while continuing his blistering acceleration and pace.
Boniek was associated with this Italian football giant, Juventus for an insane successive period of three years (1982-1985). During this season, Boniek formed a deadly attacking field for Juventus that would easily conquer the Italian, European, and as well as World soccer at that time. Needless to mention, two of his fellow team players, including Michel Platini and Paolo Rossi also helped him to build this deadly attack. With this trio, Juventus had witnessed a new record of unbeatable success.
The team won the European Cup in the Heysel final (1985), European Supercup (1984), and Cup Winners' Cup (1984) – all in the consecutive space of 3 successive seasons.
Zbigniew Boniek, being the former midfielder, was considered as one of the best dribblers at that time who maintained a sound record of continuous success. Gianni Agnelli (the former president of Juventus) was actually overwhelmed while observing the true football spirit of Boniek and eventually nicknamed him as Bello di Notte – which means night beauty as Boniek was always seemed to play his best during the evening matches.
Boniek left Juventus by 1985 and joined another esteemed and globally famous football club, AS Roma where he played for a season of 1985-1988 before his final retirement from both international and club football. During this time, the player has scored 17 goals and helped his club (AS Roma) to win a record of some unprecedented victory.
This fantastic football player with his fabulous playing style helped AS Roma to win Cup Winners' Cup. With this, he retired from his professional football career in 1988 and concentrated on growing as a successful businessman.
International football career
While Zbigniew Boniek was incredibly successful in the club football, he also had a bright and impressive career in the international football too. The player represented his country, Poland in 80 international matches where he scored a total of 24 goals for his country.
Here to mention, he was also included in Poland's 1978 World Cup squad where he impressed the entire world with his superb technique, tireless running, and incredible dribbling. During this world cup, Poland reached the 2nd phase before getting knocked out by Brazil and the champion team, Argentina.
Fast forward four years, in FIFA World Cup (1982) that was organized in Spain, Poland got a better team with an excellent native football player, Zbigniew Boniek, where the country secured the third place and ultimately won the bronze medal.
Arguably the best performance of his entire international football career occurred in a match between Poland and Belgium where he actually scored an incredibly magnificent hat-trick. In fact, that hat-trick is still considered to be as one of the best hats-tricks in the history of the World Cup.
Unfortunately, he was then suspended in the semifinal match against Italy, but he was eventually back with his best where Poland beat France and secured the third place in the 1982 World Cup. Clearly, Boniek was named as one of the most brilliant and greatest stars in this tournament. After that, he retired from the international football in 1988.
Awards and Recognition
In his career, he was awarded many prestigious rewards including Golden Foot Career Award. Other than that, he was named as one of 125 greatest living footballer by Pelé and as one of the 100 best-ever players by FIFA.
By Rosa Nelson
Jonathan Wilson, Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics (2013)
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