Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski has been the subject of malicious rumours in the past week. AFP / FRANCK FIFE

FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski has recently found himself in the gossip columns after it has been claimed that he owes the Polish Football Federation (PZPN) some money over a team dinner that he organised for his teammates during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Rumours about an expensive steak dinner at famous restaurant

Polish publication Meczyki is being named as the primary source of the rumour, which also describes Lewandowski's relationship with the PZPN as "rocky". The report claims that the Poland team captain invited his teammates out to dinner at Chef Nusret Gökçe's famous restaurant called Salt Bae. He allegedly promised to pay for dinner, but later passed on the bill to the Polish Football Association

However, it has now been revealed that the rumours are completely false. There was in fact a team dinner, but the team captain fully settled the bill personally and did not pass it on to the federation. He also did not ask to be reimbursed for the expense.

The PZPN also issued its own statement on X, formerly Twitter, to denounce the false reports. The statement read: "We firmly distance ourselves from today's media reports regarding the private activities of our players during the World Championships in Qatar.

"The dinner, reported by some media, was a private initiative of the players and paid for by the team captain (Lewandowski) with private money."

FC Barcelona reportedly preparing to sell Lewandowski

Meanwhile, Lewandowski seems to be the darling of the rumour mill this week. Apart from the steak issue, several media outlets are also reporting that FC Barcelona are getting ready to sell the Polish star.

This comes as a surprise just a full year after they swooped in to sign the prolific striker from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Lewandowski forced his exit to be able to join the Catalan giants, with many believing that it is part of his strategy to elevate his profile.

Despite Barcelona's financial issues, they were able to find the cash to sign the striker thanks to several economic levers. A deal worth €50 million including add-ons was eventually signed, and Lewandowski hit the ground running for Barcelona.

He started the 2022-23 season with impressive form, scoring 18 goals in 19 games before the long international break to make way for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Unfortunately, following his return from national team duty, Lewandowski's form dipped and he struggled to score goals with the same consistency as his first few months in Catalunya.

Luckily, that did not stop Barcelona from being able to win matches and eventually, the La Liga title.

However, the same problems continued to haunt Lewandowski in the ongoing season. He failed to score in the opening two games of the campaign, but has at least managed to find late goals against Villarreal and Osasuna.

Manager Xavi Hernandez has not shown any indication that he is unhappy with the star forward, but that has not stopped the rumour mill from churning out speculations about a possible exit. It has been claimed that the Catalans are ready to put Lewandowski on the market by next summer, and they will be wanting at least €40 million.

The Catalans are still struggling to balance their books, and if a good offer comes especially from oil-rich clubs in Saudi Arabia, they may very well opt to cash in. There has reportedly been some interest this summer, but the player was not keen on leaving Europe just yet. It remains to be seen if he will feel the same way at the end of the season.

Lewandowski's contract also ensures a salary increase every year, and if his goal tally does not justify the cost, then it won't come as a surprise if Barcelona executives look for a more financially viable solution.