Haaland's goal prowess evoking memories of Ronaldo, Messi

The Manchester City striker has the scoring power of those two greats at their height



Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring his side's third goal against Manchester United. (AP)
Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring his side's third goal against Manchester United. (AP)

By AP

Published: Mon 3 Oct 2022, 8:23 PM

The contrast could hardly have been more stark.

While Erling Haaland plundered his latest hat trick in a season that threatens to see him smash Premier League scoring records, Cristiano Ronaldo sat, glum-faced, on the sidelines.

Here was confirmation of a passing of the guard. We have entered the Haaland era, with the reigns of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi cast aside.

The Manchester City striker has the scoring power of those two greats at their height.

He is playing for, arguably, the most talented team in club football – and in Kevin de Bruyne, has a provider of laser precision.

Haaland's three goals in a 6-3 rout of Ronaldo's Manchester United on Sunday pushed his total to 17 in 11 games for the Premier League champion – 10 if the Community Shield is discounted. It is a mark of his devastating threat.

With 14 in the league, he is on course to surpass the 23 scored by last season’s joint Golden Boot winners, Mo Salah and Son Heung-Min, in just six games’ time.

Brentford at the Etihad Stadium on November 12 could be that moment. But given Haaland’s feats already, it seems unlikely he will have to wait so long.

It all just feels too easy for the 22-year-old, who at 1.93 meters (6-foot-4) tall towers over most rivals – and weighing in at 86.17kg (189 pounds), has the power to brush off the attentions of any center back who can get close to him.

That is before his break-neck turn of pace is taken into account, with just a couple of strides of his daunting gait taking him away from opponents, as well as the dexterity to reach the ball in areas he has no right to do so. See his “Kung-Fu” goal against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last month.

It creates a corridor of possibility unlike any striker in the game right now. Haaland is like playing a video game in cheat mode. If the ball is anywhere near his vicinity in the final third, the goal is at threat.

It seems impossible to imagine the record of 34 Premier League goals set by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer will not fall this season.

Ronaldo’s highest number was 31, while Sergio Aguero, City’s all-time leading goal-scorer, never managed more than 26.

To put Haaland’s numbers into context, Messi and Ronaldo still remain the benchmark.

Messi’s finest campaign saw him score an incredible 73 goals in all competitions for Barcelona in 2011-12, including 50 in the Spanish league.

Ronaldo was at his most prolific in 2014-15 for Real Madrid, when he struck 61.

But Haaland is on course to threaten those figures. In the league, he is tracking at 66 goals for a 38-game campaign.

Norway’s failure to qualify for the Qatar World Cup means he will be resting, while the world’s top players compete in the middle of what will be a heavily-congested campaign due to the disruption to the club calendar.

That mid-season break has the potential to mean Haaland is even sharper when the Premier League resumes in December.


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