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samhardy

Challenges The Zbigniew Boniek Challenge

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The Zbigniew Boniek Challenge

Credit to @danovic78 for creating this challenge.

The 1982 World Cup may just have boasted more great teams, players and matches than any other since. Champions Italy, the brilliant France of Platini, Giresse and Tigana, and, of course, the magical Brazilian team; perhaps the greatest never to win a World Cup. There was also one particularly brattish, bushy-haired Argentine who wouldn’t yet conquer the world for another four years.

Often forgotten in the midst of the fun in the Spanish sun is perhaps Poland’s finest ever team along with the best and, until Robert Lewandowski came along, most famous player ever to don the red and white: Zbigniew Boniek.

The attacking midfielder, blessed with scorching pace, had caught the eye as a 22-year-old at the 1978 World Cup, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Mexico as Poland topped their group ahead of reigning champions West Germany. Most football fans, however, remember him for a superb hat-trick at the Camp Nou against Belgium four years later.

At 26, after two seasons at Zawisza Bydgoszcz, followed by 50 league goals and two championship medals at Widzew Łódź, Boniek was ready for the big time and it soon arrived with a move to the most glamorous European team of the era, Giovanni Trapattoni’s Juventus.

The following season the chemistry grow and the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place for the Old Lady of Italian football. With Boniek and Platini in superb form, Juventus won their 21st league title before claiming the Cup Winners’ Cup with a 2-1 victory over Porto in Basel; Boniek assuming the role of hero having provided the first half winner.

In January of 1985, back the in freezing conditions of Basel, Boniek was once again his team’s match winner in the European Super Cup, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over European Champions Liverpool. When the two teams met just months later, it would turn out to be one of football’s darkest days. Before the start of the 1985 European Cup final at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, 39 Juventus fans died after crowd trouble involving Liverpool fans. Incredibly, the match went ahead.

Late in the first half, Boniek won the penalty which Platini converted to give Juventus their first ever European Cup. But what should have been the highlight of Boniek’s career had long since turned into a nightmare for all involved. The match would prove to be Boniek’s last in the black and white of Juventus and that summer he moved Roma.

Though often the man for the big occasion, Boniek, curiously, had a very modest domestic goalscoring record. He only scored 14 league goals in his time at Juventus, 17 in his three seasons at Roma and 24 in 80 internationals. A Coppa Italia final win over Sampdoria gave the Pole his final career medal in 1986 before the summer played host to a disappointing Poland exit at the World Cup in Mexico, departing during the round of 16 after a 4-0 thrashing by Brazil. Boniek retired from football just two years later.

Can you follow in Boniek's footsteps?

Rules

  • Load Poland, Italy and any other countries you like.
  • Take control of any Ekstraklasa club.
  • Nominate an Polish Attacking Midfielder to be your new "Boniek" (Can be at the club already or bought in)
  • Win at least two Ekstraklasa Titles.
  • Move to Italy and take your new "Boniek" with you.
  • You must win at least one Serie A title, Two Coppa Italia's, Two European Trophies, One European Super Cup.
  • Usual other rules apply.
  • BONUS: Improve Bonieks's third place in the Ballon D'Or and win it Plus take over Poland and improve on his tally of 24 INT goals. 

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