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Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland: goal machine and record breaker


Berlin (AFP) – Erling Haaland, who is poised to become the most expensive player in Premier League history, has made a career out of breaking records.

Born in Leeds, the son of former Manchester City striker Alf-Inge Haaland had not even turned 20 when he became the first player to chalk up six goals in his first three Champions League games.

He hit a hat-trick on his European debut for Red Bull Salzburg in September 2019 against Genk, which he proved was no fluke by scoring another against Liverpool, then bagging two against Napoli.

His 29 goals in 27 games for Salzburg put him on the radar of Borussia Dortmund, who signed him for 20 million euros ($21 million) in December 2019.

He became the first player to score a hat-trick in Germany’s top flight on his debut as a replacement, needing just 23 minutes to bang in three and seal a 5-3 win at Augsburg.

“That’s what you signed me for,” Haaland told Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc.

He is youngest player to chalk up 50 Bundesliga goals, reaching the milestone in just 50 matches – another record.

However, any UK sports journalists seeking in-depth answers have their work cut out.

He is the master of short replies, once quipping: “The day I do an interview over one minute will be the day I quit football”.

In December 2019, Haaland bagged a jaw-dropping nine goals – three hat-tricks in one game – when Norway juniors hammered Honduras 12-0 at the Under-19 World Cup.

In his first six months with Dortmund – including the two-month enforced break as a result of the Covid pandemic – Haaland racked up 16 goals in 18 games.

In the 2020/21 campaign, he managed 41 goals in 41 games for Dortmund.

He helped Dortmund reach the quarter-finals in the Champions League, scoring twice in both the home and away legs of the last 16 win over Sevilla.

Haaland drew a blank against Manchester City over the two legs as Dortmund bowed out in the last eight.

He still ensured Dortmund finished last season with a trophy when both he and Jadon Sancho scored twice in the German Cup final to seal a 4-1 win over RB Leipzig.

– ‘Not a machine’ –

Sancho joined Manchester United soon afterwards, but even without the England winger beside him, Haaland started this season with a bang.

He scored twice and set up three more in a 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in a majestic display on the opening day of the season, ending up with seven goals in his first five league games.

However, injury struck in September which dragged into November.

“He’s a human being, not a machine,” said Dortmund coach Marco Rose when a hip flexor injury restricted Haaland’s appearances for Dortmund and Norway last autumn.

As a result, both his club and country suffered.

With Haaland sidelined, Dortmund crashed out of the Champions League, finishing third in their group, while Norway missed out on qualifying for this year’s World Cup.

His 28 goals in 29 games this season still justifies the astronomical price tag Man City are happy to pay.

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