Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has revealed how being told early on his career that he would never be a "top player" motivated him to improve and become one of the best strikers in the world.
Rejected as a youth player at Legia Warsaw, the then 17-year-old was left devastated when an injury-ravaged season saw him given his marching orders and moved to third-tier Znicz Pruszkow.
After being told he 'cannot' play by a doctor due to his injury, the Polish striker proved his doubters wrong, finishing top scorer in back-to-back seasons as his new side won successive promotions in 2007 and 2008.
Now, the Bayern striker is now one of the world's most feared forwards and Lewandowski has revealed in an extensive interview how his early struggles motivated him to improve with each and every training session.
"Being released by Legia Warsaw was one of the worst situations in my life," he said, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live. "I was 17 and my mother was waiting for me after training as I did not have a driving licence. From the look on my face, she knew straight away what had happened.
"The doctor said 'he won't be ready'. That was the motivation for me. Nobody can say to you, 'you cannot' because I had that a lot of times in my life. It is rubbish. I never met a coach who told me, 'look, you will be a top player'. I scored a lot of goals but I did not have from a coach who said, 'if you do this and this better, you will play at at high level."
His big break came when Jurgen Klopp's BV Borussia Dortmund signed him for around £4m from Lech Poznan in 2010, and he admits working under the industrious German was "hard work" - but ultimately the most rewarding experience of his career.
"I remember the first six months at Dortmund, the training was very hard under Jurgen Klopp. I was very young and wanted to show everyone I could do it 110% in every training session," he explained.
"After every single training session I stayed on the pitch and practised with my left foot, my right foot and being systematic and repeating the movements was very important."
Since then, Lewandowski has progressed all the way to the top and is a household name on the world stage at current club Bayern Munich.
Inspired to become a world beater by his idol Thierry Henry growing up, he now boasts a record of more than 400 goals for club and country - with Lewandowski attributing a lot of his success to watching the legendary Frenchman.
"I looked at the best player in the world and thought, why can a player from Poland not be one of the best in the world?" the 30-year-old added.
⚽ Robert Lewandowski is the 3rd quickest player to score 5️⃣0️⃣ CL goals, in his 77th game in the competition.— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 27, 2018
Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (62) & Lionel Messi (66) have reached the 50-goal milestone in fewer appearances #UCL pic.twitter.com/HK05XK6e1z
"My idol was Thierry Henry. He was amazing - it was not just how he scored the goals but what he did for the team. I wanted to be the same player like that, but to be Robert Lewandowski. I could take some aspects from one or two of the players and be like my idol.
"I remember when I met Henry, I was like 'wow, I met my childhood idol'. Now he wants my jersey and I think, 'amazing'. I believe that dreams come true."