Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Haaland looks set to surpass Messi and Cristiano as superstar

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — With Lionel Messi headed to Inter Miami and Cristiano Ronaldo already on his way to Saudi Arabia, the time has come for a new world soccer superstar to emerge.

It’s time to say hello to Erling Haaland, whose record-setting debut season at Manchester City has established the Norwegian as arguably the most lethal goalscorer in football.

On Saturday, Haaland can hand Pep Guardiola’s city a maiden Champions League title and a historic treble after winning the Premier League and FA Cup this season.

Perhaps only Kylian Mbappe, the French forward for Paris Saint-Germain, and Vinicius Junior, the Real Madrid winger, can challenge Haaland for the title of best in the world after the Messi and Cristiano era.

Haaland has exceeded expectations in his first season at City since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

But his exploits at City have set new benchmarks in English top-flight football.

With 36 Premier League goals, he set a new benchmark in the division by breaking the record of 34, which was shared by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer and stood for 29 years. His total in all competitions was 52, including six hat-tricks.

Haaland’s five goals against Leipzig in the Champions League equaled the mark shared by Messi and Luiz Adriano for the most goals in a single game in Europe’s top competition at club level.

He also became the youngest and fastest player to score 30 goals in the Champions League.

City manager Pep Guardiola said, “His mentality is to score as much as possible.”

Inter Milan are likely to be the most feared player in Saturday’s Champions League final in Istanbul, with Haaland heading into the game heading into a goalscoring drought.

He has barely scored a goal in his last seven games, marking the Norwegian’s worst run in the five years since he began establishing himself as part of Norwegian club Molde.

However, the recent drought has only shaken the feeling that City’s goal-scoring machine is one of the few players capable of taking over from Messi and Cristiano as the next icons of world football, especially since the 22-year-old Haaland years He is still polishing his game and polishing his talent.

World Nation News Desk
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