Erling Haaland is rewriting history in front of the goal, a terrain he is conquering with every game he plays for Manchester City.
His 19 goals in 12 games with the “Cityzens” is a cold reflection in the numbers of his current level. He is the ‘pichichi’ of the Premier League (14 in eight games) and the UEFA Champions League (five in three), but he always wants more.
“The numbers speak for themselves. They’re scary to be honest. What he’s doing he’s done before in Norway, Austria, and Germany. I didn’t teach him that. The quality we have helps him score. He’s got incredible instinct. He was born to score goals,” said Pep Guardiola of Haaland.
His form is such that a few months ago he opened an unthinkable debate: Will he manage to score more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi?
Stats at 22 years old
- Haaland: 154 goals in 194 matches (0,8 average)
- Mbappé: 131 goals in 202 matches (0,65 average)
- Messi: 80 goals in 162 matches (0,5 average)
- Cristiano: 53 goals in 214 matches (0,25 average)
Pundits in England and Europe fantasize about how many goals he can score this season and whether he will break Premier League and Champions League records this season. The records of 34 goals by Andy Cole (Newcastle, 1994) and Alan Shearer (Blackburn, 1995) in 42 English league games and Mo Salah’s (Liverpool, 2018) 32 goals in a 38-game season are under threat.
Even Dixie Dean’s record of 60 (Everton, 1928) could falter. He could also surpass Messi’s 82 goals in the whole of 2011/12 and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 17 in the 2013/14 Champions League at the current rate (a goal every 1.6 games).
Neither Cristiano nor Messi
Generation-defining records are under threat from Haaland, who at the age of 22 has amassed a huge number of goals. According to Transfermarkt, neither CR7 nor Leo at his age came close to the 154 goals in 194 games the Norwegian scored for Bryn, Molde, RB Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. His average is 0.8 per game.
Excluding his performances in the youth teams, Messi, aged 22 years and two and a half months, has scored 80 goals in 162 games for Barcelona (an average of 0.5). In the 2008/09 season, in which he won everything under Guardiola, the Argentine broke into the top scorers table (38 goals), although by then his ceiling was 17 in 2006/07. Haaland’s scoring is more consistent (44 in 2019/20 between RB Salzburg and Dortmund, 41 in 2020/21 and 29 in 2021/22 with BVB and 19 with City so far).
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has already made the jump from Sporting CP to Manchester United, had 53 goals in 214 games (0.25 average) at Haaland’s current age. He was still a winger and not a voracious predator who became the top scorer in the history of football, national teams (117) and Real Madrid (451). Only in the following season (2007/08) did he explode as a scorer (42 goals) and win the Golden Hit.
The Champions League is Haaland territory
Erling made his mark in the Champions League. With RB Salzburg, he entered the tournament in a dominant fashion (eight goals in five games) and continues to push forward in his fourth season in the top continental competition.
With 28 goals in 22 games in the competition, Haaland has already scored more goals in the Champions League than legends like Rivaldo and Luis Suarez combined in their entire careers (27). And its goals-per-game average (1.27) is higher than the 98 teams that took part in the competition.
It also wins in comparison. In his first 28 games, Cristiano (the all-time top scorer in the Champions League with 140 goals) scored three goals and Messi (second with 127) 14. Even Mbappe, his great rival for the football throne in the next decade, is behind in his first 28 Champions League matches (17 goals). At 22, the PSG star has scored 202,131 goals – close to Haaland, but not higher. Norway has its own standards. And they change every game.
“I knew I would adapt, but everything goes fast. For me it was just about arriving, not thinking too much, not trying to do more than necessary and trying to do what I do best, which is score,” Haaland said . It has no limits.