June 25, 2024
Erling Haaland: The next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Don't bet against the Norweigan

Erling Haaland: The next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Don’t bet against the Norweigan

Before Borussia Dortmund’s game on Tuesday against Club Brugge in the Champions League, he had scored 15 goals in 12 appearances so far this season, including a remarkable four-goal haul in his last outing against Hertha Berlin, and failed to score on just three occasions this season.

And at 20 years old, with his two goals in Dortmund’s 3-0 over Club Brugge, he has reached 15 (and then 16) goals in the Champions League in fewer games than anyone else.

Haaland in action during Dortmund's Champions League match against Club Brugge.

In fact, he’s now scored 16 Champions League goals in just 12 appearances — Messi had two goals and Ronaldo none after the same number of appearances. Messi now has 117 and Ronaldo has 131 goals in the Champions League.

“The guy is incredible,” Haaland’s Dortmund teammate Jude Bellingham told UEFA’s Champions League website. “Six goals in his last two games and I’m sure many more before that. He’s a joke. Right now he’s one of the best strikers in the world and he’s fantastic to play with.”

A competition that Haaland clearly is a fan of — he says listens to the famous Champions League anthem in his car — the Dortmund striker became the first teenager to score 10 Champions League goals in a season in the 2019/2020 campaign. He’s also the leading scorer in this season’s Champions League with six goals.

Haaland has scored a remarkable 44 goals in 40 appearances for two different clubs — first Red Bull Salzburg before moving to Dortmund in January 2020 — last season.

Last week, his excellence over this calendar year was recognized as he won the Golden Boy award — given to the best player aged 21 or under from one of the top-tier European leagues.

“I’m just happy to be playing with him. He’s an incredible player. He contributes greatly on the pitch and I was happy to assist him today. Recently he got the Golden Boy award and I’m very happy for him because he deserves it for how hard he works. He’s a fantastic player,” Jadon Sancho, who scored Dortmund’s other goal, told UEFA’s Champions League website.

Haaland celebrates after scoring against Club Brugge.

With Messi and Ronaldo in the twilight of their stellar careers — although they are both still scoring for Barcelona and Juventus respectively — could Haaland be the player to take up their scoring mantles?

Alongside 21-year-old Kylian Mbappe, what’s not in doubt is that Haaland is one of the most promising attackers on the world stage and could be set to break many more goalscoring records if he is able to continue his red-hot form and avoid injury.