When Pep Guardiola saw Erling Haaland's artistic kung fu goal on the screen for the first time, he said "Oh, my God". The Manchester City coach said, "I've never seen anything like it." And then it occurred to him. Yet. Once. On December 22, 1973. Through his absolute idol. That's why he gave his new top scorer the ultimate praise that you can get from Guardiola after his winning goal to 2-1 against Haaland's ex-club Borussia Dortmund (84th): He compared him to Johan Cruyff.
"He once scored a goal like that for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid. And when I saw the goal, I immediately thought: 'Aah, like Johan Cruyff,' said the ex-FC Bayern Munich coach, for whom Dutch football died in 2016 icon has a very special status. "Anyone who knows me knows the influence he has on me," said Guardiola: "As a person, as a mentor and as a coach." Guardiola once played under Cruyff at FC Barcelona.
"He is flexible and elastic"
After the final whistle, the Norwegian himself comforted many former Dortmund colleagues with whom he had played four months ago. Then he enjoyed the once again effusive homage of the City fans and ran a small lap of honor alone. To explain afterwards with a mischievous grin: "We scored two beautiful goals today. But honestly, mine was a little bit better."
There were no objections. The equalizer by John Stones (80') after BVB's lead by Jude Bellingham (58') resulted from a long-range shot that is worth seeing, but probably tenable. But Haaland's hit - with the outside instep, jumping sideways with his back to the goal - was a hit that you only see very, very rarely. "An action that only Erling Haaland can actually implement," said Dortmund's sports director Sebastian Kehl: "We have benefited from it in recent years." Haaland then commented again objectively: "It's my job to wait in the box for the right moment and to score goals. Then the moment came and I did my job."
Sun: "Who is actually writing the scripts for this guy?"
He has now scored 13 goals in nine competitive games for the Citizens. And on the island, the hype about him is already huge. Until six minutes before the end, it looked like "the question that all of European football is asking could be answered," wrote the "Independent": "Maybe he can be stopped. Maybe he's human after all. Maybe it only takes a deep, intimate knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses to stop him from scoring." The answer in the end was no. So the Sun asked, "Who is actually writing the scripts for this guy?"