MANCHESTER, England — Erling Haaland is the best player in the world right now, and he’s transformed Manchester City from a great side into one that can blow everyone else’s minds this season.
Just ask Manchester United, who were beaten 6-3 at the Etihad on Sunday, for another Haaland hat-trick.
Phil Foden also scored a hat-trick on a remarkable day for Pep Guardiola’s team, but the star of the show was once again Haaland, Borussia Dortmund’s £51million summer signing, who looks like a teenager playing against 9-1 , raging through the Premier League defence. year olds.
Haaland, 22, has 14 goals in the Premier League this season – more than 14 other teams in the league – and 17 goals in 11 games in all competitions for City. That includes hat-tricks in back-to-back home games against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and now United.
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Just to underscore the impact Haaland has left in a City shirt so far, he can now claim to have scored as many hat-tricks (three) as Cristiano Ronaldo in his Premier League career. Haaland has drawn level with the United striker after just eight games.
Michael Owen was the fastest player to score three hat-tricks in the Premier League. He’s made 48 games for Liverpool to clinch his third, so Haaland is simply erasing records that were expected to have stood for decades.
There was something poignant about the fact that Ronaldo spent the full 90 minutes on United’s bench as Haaland tore his team apart. Ronaldo has been at the top of world football for more than a decade, during which time he shared the reputation as the world’s best player with Lionel Messi – but the 37-year-old will now know the baton has been handed firmly to Haaland after handing him over at the Etihad observed nearby.
“What Erling does, he did in Norway, Austria and Germany, that’s the reality,” said City Manager Guardiola. “With the quality we have at his side, it helps him score goals.
“What he did – how he scored, how he moved, his incredible instinct to know when the ball was coming – I never taught him anything. He got it all from his parents.
“I’ve had incredible center forwards in my career, but what I like about Erling is that even at the end of the game he’s still there and wants to be part of the situation. But his talent is to put the ball in play at the back of the net – he’s a fantastic, fantastic striker.”
Kylian Mbappe may be the only footballer who could argue that he should be ranked higher than Haaland as the best in the world, but the French striker has only – just – scored 11 goals in 10 games for Paris Saint-Germain this season. His numbers pale in comparison to Haaland’s.
Haaland and Mbappe will dominate the world stage for years to come, just as Messi and Ronaldo have done for the past decade. Neither has won a Champions League yet, but it would be a pretty safe bet to point out that one or the other will soon.
It’s just a huge shame for football that Haaland won’t be at the World Cup this year because Norway didn’t qualify – the biggest competition of the game without its best player will certainly be missing something in Qatar.
But Haaland’s absence from the World Cup will likely only make him and City better this season. While his rivals in Qatar are expending physical and mental energy, he will rest and prepare to continue fresher than the rest in the second half of the season.
It’s an ominous prospect for City’s rivals. They were already the best team in England before Haaland’s arrival, but while still trailing early leaders Arsenal in the title race, it seems only a matter of time before Guardiola’s juggernaut gets to the top and breaks away before he disappears on the horizon.
United became the first Big Six team to face City and Haaland this season. Ahead of the derby, one might have guessed that a soft start to the campaign had helped Haaland embellish his stats and that the first big challenge would give us a clearer picture of his abilities.
However, after United’s 6-3 win, we have a pretty clear picture and it’s the same as before: Haaland is practically unstoppable.
He has speed, power and fantastic movements. He also has a true goalscoring instinct that allows him to get into positions most strikers don’t see. His second goal against United, slipping in at the far post to convert Kevin De Bruyne’s cross, was a classic example of Haaland spotting a gap when others didn’t.
United had no answer to Haaland but Foden was just as strong and damaging to Erik ten Hag’s team. Haaland and Foden seem to have struck up a bond straight away at City and it shows in their understanding of each other’s runs in the box.
Haaland could have scored five goals in his first Manchester derby, his ability to create chances was so good. United got away with it but another team will be less fortunate. No player has ever scored six goals in a Premier League game – Sergio Aguero, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole are among a small group who have scored five – but if anyone can do it it’s Haaland.
The grim reality for United is they almost signed him three years ago. But when former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believed he had a deal for the player he debuted at Molde as a teenager, the United hierarchy refused to sanction a buy-out clause in Haaland’s contract and he left FC Salzburg for Borussia instead Dortmund.
It looked like a decision that would haunt United and it certainly did on Sunday. It probably won’t be the last time it happens either.
Erling Haaland is simply unplayable at the moment and if he keeps his form City will win everything this season.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/manchester-city-engman_city/story/4759976/haaland-is-the-worlds-best-player-and-man-city-are-unbeatable Erling Haaland is the world’s best player, and Man City are unbeatable