Football: Błaszczykowski returns to Wisła Kraków after 11 years

Jakub Błaszczykowski joins former club Wisła Kraków on a free transfer. All of his wages will be donated to purchase match tickets for the city’s orphanages.

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“It a great day for me,” said Mr Błaszczykowski during his first press conference with the new club. “I am glad that I could return here and that I will have the pleasure and honour of putting on the club’s shirt again. I hope to give myself and the fans a lot of satisfaction and great moments. I hope that after all the troubles the club has been through, the sun will shine for it again, just as it does today.”

On Friday Jakub Błaszczykowski was officially presented by the club. It happened 14 years to the day since he joined his first ever training with Wisła on February 8, 2005.

The 33-year-old winger will play for the club for a monthly salary of PLN 500 (EUR 116), which is the minimum wage for a professional football player. All of it will go to fund match tickets for local orphanages.

This is not Błaszczykowski’s first gesture for his boyhood club. Recently, with Wisła experiencing serious financial difficulties, the Polish winger and two of his friends have lent the club around PLN 1.3 million (EUR 310,000) As a result, Wisła were able to get their league licence back. “If Wisła was not in a difficult situation, it would not need me.” Mr Błaszczykowski said. “I am here now and I feel great pleasure from it. I am aware of the expectations and I will try to live up to them.”

With his contract with Wisła running until the end of June, the Polish player emphasised that he is still in doubt whether the club will be saved. “We are aware of the current situation,” he said. “It is hard to plan anything six months in front but I approach it calmly.”

“My decision might not have been a rational one, but my heart has taken over,” Mr Błaszczykowski admitted. “We are struggling to sell as many tickets as possible, we encourage the fans to buy long-term tickets, to support the club and become a part of its reconstruction.”

Jakub Błaszczykowski played in Wisła from 2005 to 2007, before moving to Borussia Dortmund. He spent the majority of his career there, making over 250 appearances and winning two Bundesliga titles. Since 2016 he has represented VfL Wolfsburg.

Błaszczykowski is also the most capped player for the Polish national team, with 105 appearances.