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Harry Kane can’t stop scoring, but when will his trophy curse end?

When Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich last summer, it was expected that the cruel ‘curse’ that had plagued an otherwise phenomenal career would soon be lifted.

Kane, the burdensome goal scorer, the inspirational leader, the figurehead of English football, has done everything in his career except win a major trophy, a painful fact which, for a long time, had more to do with Tottenham’s enduring struggle to break through than any failure on his part.

Moving to Bayern, it was rightly and reasonably believed, would solve the lingering problem. The German giant collects trophies with the same voracity as Kane accumulates goals, and the team started this season with a greedy record of having won 10 consecutive Bundesliga triumphs.

And yet, as Kane heads into Tuesday’s Champions League first leg against Real Madrid, it is the toughest club competition of all that remains his only immediate chance of winning silverware.

Although he has scored 42 times in all matches and remains in contention to tie Robert Lewandowski’s all-time Bundesliga record, Bayern’s title streak is over. Bayer Leverkusen have already clinched the title thanks to an incredible, unbeaten campaign.

“It would mean everything,” Kane told reporters at the 2022 World Cup, when asked to imagine the feeling of winning his first trophy.

For now at least, the wait continues.

The fact that Kane’s trophy cabinet remains bare, something he alluded to in a humorous TV commercial for Amazon Prime a few months ago, is becoming an increasingly bizarre reality.

Time and time again, the 31-year-old has held up his end of the bargain. In the Euro 2020 final with England, Kane scored the opening penalty in the shootout against Italy, but could only watch as three of his teammates missed.

With Tottenham, Kane tasted defeat against Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final. There was frustration in the Carabao Cup in 2015 and 2021. Tottenham’s best shot in the English Premier League failed in 2016 , when +5000 underdog Leicester City produced a historic upset.

“As great as it is, I want to win the biggest team awards,” Kane said three years ago, accepting the Premier League Player of the Year award. “We’re not really succeeding. It’s bittersweet.”

In 2018, Kane was the top scorer at the World Cup, but defensive errors cost England a late lead in the semi-final against Croatia, leading to even more disappointment.

It would be a novel – and in some ways fitting – end to the conversation if Kane could help Bayern win the Champions League this year, on a path where the difficulty could hardly be higher.

Real Madrid cherish this competition more than any other, having won it a record 14 times. At the Allianz Arena, then eight days later in the Spanish capital, Kane and his colleagues will face a Madrid side driven by the dynamism of his England teammate Jude Bellingham, whose exploits in his first season in La Liga have led to calls naming him the best player in the world.

The winner of the two-legged semi-final will face Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain on June 1, less than two weeks before the start of the European Championship which will determine the continent’s best national team. Kane tried to play it cool when he spoke to the media last weekend, but there is no doubt that this represents a huge opportunity for him.

“I hope to score a few against Madrid,” he said. “I’m convinced that I’m in a good moment and that I can put some aside. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere – I’m expecting it to reach another level and I’m excited.”

Madrid knows all about the danger that Kane represents in front of goal. Indeed, the club tried to recruit him before he finally chose to join Bayern.

“We have world-class defenders who have lived every moment at this club and reached the Champions League final,” said Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde. “But first we have to respect (Kane and Bayern).”

Kane arrives in a magnified window that will seem somewhat familiar, teetering on the line between personal accolades and team success. If he manages to score six times in the last three matches of the Bundesliga season and equal or beat Lewandowski’s record, the already loud applause would be deafening.

And yet, if Bayern fail to get past Bellingham and company en route to a Champions League triumph, the subject of Kane’s trophy curse will once again come to the fore.

By any measure, his career has already been spectacular. As evidenced by the speed with which he adapted to a new environment, his performance level has never been higher. He basically wrote the book on scoring at the highest level, and there is no better pure striker in the world.

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“In this position, this job – Harry – he is untouchable,” French goalkeeper and former Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris, now with Major League Soccer’s LAFC, told me.

It seems unfair in this sense to speak of a curse, even harsher to judge Kane on his trophy drought. But since when has football and the way we talk about it been fair?

Perhaps no player in world football deserves – or needs – a triumph anymore. Not necessarily to validate, but to scratch the itch. And finally, to end the discussion.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX And subscribe to the daily newsletter.


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