It was suggested Real Madrid could be in position to sign Erling Haaland, but Pep Guardiola has denied the existence of an “exit clause”.
Pep Guardiola has denied claims Erling Haaland has a release clause in his Manchester City contract that would allow him to join Real Madrid on favourable terms.
Haaland has been outstanding since joining City from Borussia Dortmund at the start of the season, netting twice against Copenhagen on Wednesday to take his tally to an astonishing 19 in 12 games.
But ahead of that game, Fernando Sanz – former Madrid player and later Malaga president – suggested Haaland’s deal had an “exit clause” with “very favorable conditions” for Los Blancos.
Haaland joined City after they activated a clause in his Dortmund contract, but Guardiola insisted after the game in Copenhagen that the claim was not true.
“It’s not true,” he told reporters. “He doesn’t have a release clause for Real Madrid or any other team. It’s not true. That’s all I can say.”
“Absolutely not [it’s annoying]. There are rumors and people talking and you can’t control it. We always have to worry about what we can control.
“The important thing is that he can adapt really well, I feel that he is happy here. We tried with him and everyone who stayed here and we made them happy. That’s the most important thing.”
“After all, what will happen in the future? Who knows? Nobody knows.”
“What’s important is that he’s happy and perfectly balanced and incredibly loved by everyone. That’s the most important thing.”
Haaland was substituted at half-time in the 5-0 win in Copenhagen and missed the chance to make it another hat-trick after three in his last three Premier League home games.
Guardiola said the change was not planned as he explained: “Three days ago he played a lot of minutes, he controlled the game and Cole Palmer [his replacement] is an excellent player, a top class player.
“If the game had been close, Erling would have continued to play. But it was better to rest and think about Southampton, a team we were not able to beat last season. Hopefully we can do it this season.”
Guardiola added: “Erling Haaland, what does he want? The same as us; to win the game. He created hat-tricks to win games.”
Of a performance that added an own goal to Haaland’s double, a Riyad Mahrez penalty and Julian Alvarez’s close-range finish, Guardiola said: “Today we see the reason why these years at this club have been really, really successful.
“After Man United 6-3, a lot of compliments, a lot of nice things, we were able to be humble enough to respect the opponent like any team we play. That’s the secret of this team.”
Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup said his side “must improve” but accepted: “We couldn’t do anything for City.
“Obviously there were things we could always do better, but we just have to accept that we played against the best team in the world right now. They are a few levels above us.”