Zbigniew "Zibì" Kazimierz Boniek is the current president of Polish Football Association and also a retired Polish football player who was born on 3 March 1956 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Boniek was a sort of all-rounder because he could play from a number of different positions such as central-midfield, attacking midfield, left wing, defensive midfield, central-forward and sweeper. He is also recognised as one of the greatest Polish footballers of all time. In 2004, living legend Pelé stamped his nobility by selecting him in his list of 100 best living footballers around the world. In 2009, he has also received Golden Foot Legends Award.
Boniek started his career joining local club Zawisza Bydgoszcz at the age of 10 years. Next 7 years, he was trained and nurtured staying with the academy of the club. Afterwards, in 1973, he was promoted to the senior squad where he played 41 matches scoring 14 times.
Later, he moved to one of the most popular sports clubs of the Poland, Widzew Łódź. With his new club, he touched some new heights as well as got worldwide recognition. He also won two Ekstraklasa titles for the club in a row in 1981 and 1982.
His splendid delineation in club football earned him a call up from the Poland national football team in 1976 at the early age of 20 and on 24 March 1976, he made his international debut. However, he played his full match on 24 August 1977 in a 2-1 friendly loss against Austria.
After joining Juventus FC in 1982, Boniek made his Serie A debut on 12 September 1982 in a 1-0 loss against Sampdoria. At the same period, he also participated in European Champions Clubs’ Cup.
Rise to glory
Boniek rose to glory in his very first season with Juventus FC, winning Coppa Italia and also reaching to the final of the 1983 European Cup. In the next season, Boniek was on fire helping his team to clinch Serie A title as well as Winners’ Cup. He was a key player throughout the season contributing in the both scoring and defending. In the final of the 1984 Winners’ Cup, he had also kicked a decisive goal as Juventus lifted the cup by beating Porto by 2-1.
In the next season, having him in the team Juventus FC grabbed both European Super Cup and the European Cup. In the European Super Cup, he had scored two back to back goals against arch-rival Liverpool and defeated them by 2-0.
In the international football, after mere appearances at the 1978 FIFA World Cup, he slowly strengthen his feet in the regular squad and later participated in the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups as well.
Boniek was star performer in the 1982 World Cup when Poland finished on the top 3rd spot winning the bronze. During this campaign, he had scored 4 goals including a hat-trick against Belgium.
Most of his trophies and honours came playing with the Juventus. Although he had spent his last footballing years with Roma. During his time with Roma, he played 92 games scoring 23 goals whereas with Juventus FC, he has got 26 goals in 117 fixtures. Overall, he played 214 games of different leagues netting the goal 51 times.
In 1982, he had got third place for the prestigious Ballon d'Or and was also included in the FIFA World Cup All-star Team of the same year.
For the Polish national team, he played 80 games and added 26 goals in his goal tally.
On 1 July 1988, Boniek announced his retirement from all kind of football and stepped forward to play his new role, as a manager. Since 1990, he managed several teams such as Lecce, Bari, Sambenedettese, Avellino and at last in 2002, he also managed Poland national team.