Erling Haaland Changing Expectations Like Lionel Messi And Cristiano Ronaldo Did

Erling Haaland has scored eight goals in the last two hours of soccer he has played for Manchester City. These numbers are ridiculous enough without even factoring in that these goals came in a Champions League round of 16 match and an FA Cup quarter-final. What the Norwegian striker is doing right now is unprecedented.

Haaland has now found the back of the net 42 times for City in all competitions this season. At his current scoring rate of over a goal a game, the 22-year-old will set a new Premier
League record for the most goals in a single campaign – Andy Cole and Alan Shearer hold the current record with 34 goals.

Some questioned whether Haaland would need time to adapt to English soccer. While the Norwegian international scored goals for fun in the Bundesliga, it was expected in some quarters that he would be tested in a new way as a Premier League player. Now, though, there are questions over how the Premier League as a whole will adapt to him.

Just as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo set a new precedent in La Liga with their incredible goal-scoring numbers over a number of seasons, Haaland is setting a new standing in the Premier League. England’s top flight has never seen a striker like the 22-year-old before. He is something different.

“I have played against the greats, [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldinho, [Zinedine] Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo: in the end they are part of a very special elite because I think even the very best find it very difficult to stop those guys because someone like Erling will keep finding a way,” Vincent Kompany said after Haaland scored three against his Burnley team.

“I think the goalscoring record in general puts you in a certain bracket, a certain category. He has a good feeling of where the ball is going to land in the box but then he is also in the right place for his development, he has the right coach with the right environment and I think he has the right mindset.”

Much of the discussion around Haaland this season has focused on whether or not he has improved Manchester City as a team. The Norwegian has undoubtedly given the Premier League champions a sharper edge in front of goal, but Pep Guardiola is still figuring out how to set up his team in possession when Haaland doesn’t offer much on the ball.

“This guy will have a problem in the future, every game he will be expected to score three or four goals and this is not going to happen,” said Guardiola after Haaland scored his eighth goal in just two games against RB Leipzig and Burnley. Indeed, the numbers being charted by Haaland are now the benchmark for everyone.

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