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A 1985 European Champion Clubs' Cup winner with Juventus and scorer of an impressive hat-trick against Belgium at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, Zbigniew Boniek enjoys pride of place in Polish football history. Now, as part of our ongoing pledge to give fans a voice at UEFA EURO 2012, we offered users the chance to send in their questions for the ex-RTS Widzew Łódź, Juventus and AS Roma forward via Twitter using #AskBoniek. The response was superb, with a range of questions asked about his success with the Bianconeri and a distinguished 12-year international career.
@TK_VikingJuve: Who might be the player who shines at Euro 2012?
Zbigniew Boniek: It's not easy to shine at the EUROs for one simple reason: with modern communication, the internet and TV, we know everything about every player taking part. There are no surprises these days. There aren't any players who will surprise you. In the Polish side, for example, [Maciej] Rybus is not a well-known footballer but he's very interesting. It's unlikely that a totally unknown player will surprise everyone at the EUROs. It's more likely that very good players will prove their class. To expect an unknown talent to blossom and take Europe by storm, I just don't think it's going to happen.
@agrali_miles: As a fan of his and that legendary Juve squad in 1980s, who does he consider to be the BEST player he ever played with?
Boniek: [Michel] Platini was definitely the best player that I ever played alongside. [Diego] Maradona was one of the greatest that I've ever witnessed. A fantastic footballer.
@kingyusuf101: How did you prepare for big games and challenges?
Boniek: I was always buzzing before the match. I struggled to fall asleep; I would toss and turn until three or four in the morning. I always asked everyone not to wake me too early in the morning so that I could catch up on sleep. In the last four to five hours before the match, it's all about the adrenaline.
I didn't like to speak to anyone before the match. I didn't want to have any conversations with others, I just wanted to be by myself, to think about the match in my head and play it out before kick-off so I could imagine how it might evolve on the pitch. Generally speaking, I was so focused that I couldn't even eat much ahead of kick-off. I lived for the match.
@goralpatel: Who do you believe is an integral part of Poland's squad that can help them make it all the way to the final?
Boniek: It's a good question. I ask myself that too. We have three or four quality players. We may be a bunch of crazy optimists thinking that we can achieve great things at the EURO, but I am wondering how we can surprise our opponents and what elements of our game we can use. I have some problems answering that question.
Football is a game of chances. There is a good chance of a weaker team beating a stronger one here at the EURO. We can count on mass support and optimism as well as the luck provided by our coach and our home advantage and the positive energy of this atmosphere.
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