Soccer planet: Haaland the cyborg
Erling Haaland inherited the nickname “cyborg” and it doesn’t just have to do with his vaguely robotic face. The guy is downright a machine on the pitch.
The Norwegian striker once again demonstrated his dominance with a five-goal performance in Manchester City’s 7-0 win over Leipzig in the Champions League Round of 16 this week.
He became only the third player to achieve a quintuple in the Champions League finals, joining Lionel Messi with Barcelona and Luiz Adriano with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Haaland’s achievement, however, lies in the fact that he scored his five goals in just 35 minutes, between the 22nd and the 57th minute. Messi had done it in 84 minutes and Adriano in 82.
Haaland eventually played an hour as Pep Guardiola opted to take him out of the game in the 63rd minute, a decision which was disputed.
Guardiola has indeed been criticized for having prevented his young protege from having the chance to go down in history since no player has yet managed a sextuplet in the final phase of the Champions League.
The media therefore criticized Guardiola, the Spanish publication AS not going there with the back of the dead hand, as Jean Perron would say.
“Guardiola deprived the Norwegian striker of breaking a Champions League record that neither Leo Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo have to their name. (…) He prevented Erling Haaland from surpassing Leo Messi and Luiz Adriano to become, on his own, the only player to score the most goals in a single Champions League match. »
Guardiola for his part played down the criticism.
“If he manages to score six Champions League goals at 22, his life will be boring. Now he can do it in the future. More seriously, I made the switch because the match was over. »
This performance illustrates the dominance of the 22-year-old, who burns everything in his path this season.
Haaland is a real steamroller with his 28 goals in 26 Premier League games. He added ten in the Champions League, and one in the League Cup for a total of 39 goals in 36 games in all competitions.
It’s a mind-blowing production rate that makes you dream, because, let’s remember once again, he’s only 22 years old. We can therefore assume that the best is yet to come.
We understand better why all the big European clubs have their eye on him, especially Real Madrid.
One only has to take a look at some statistics to convince oneself that Haaland has that certain something special.
His quintuple took his tally of Champions League goals to 33 in 25 career appearances.
At just 22 years and 236 days, Haaland is the youngest player to reach the 30-goal mark in the Champions League. the old record holderKylian Mbappé, had reached this milestone at 22 years and 352 days.
His 28 goals in 26 Premier League games puts him just five goals away from breaking the record of 32 set by Mo Salah in 2017-18. He still has eleven games to play this season.
Haaland alone has scored more goals than eight Premier League teams: Southampton, Wolverhampton and Everton (20), Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace (21), West Ham (24), Bournemouth (25) and Chelsea (27). ).
EDEN HAZARD IS BITTING DOWN
Defender Eder Militao faced Eden Hazard (right) during a drill at Real Madrid training.
Once one of the best midfielders in the world, the Belgian Eden Hazard is unhappy at Real Madrid where he has not played in a La Liga match since September 11, being stuck behind Vinicius. What’s more, he has no real relationship with his coach, Carlos Ancelotti, with whom he speaks little, which Ancelotti has confirmed. “The relationship is not cold, notes the coach. Hazard was honest, we don’t talk much because talking is also a matter of character. We talk more with some people than with others. “It is clear that it is vague.
VIOLENCE IN NAPLES
There was more action on the streets of Napoli than on the pitch during the return leg between Eintracth Frankfurt and Napoli earlier this week. About 600 German Ultras made the trip even though ticket sales had been restricted. The result: clashes in the streets of Naples in which at least six police officers were injured and two German partisans were stabbed. Vehicles were also set on fire.
FIFA IS DESPICOUS ACCORDING TO LA LIGA
The expansion of the World Cup to 48 nations in 2026 and that of the Club World Cup to 32 teams does not only make people happy. Spain’s La Liga have been vitriolic in denouncing FIFA’s “utter disregard” for domestic competitions. “FIFA continues its bad practice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar, showing complete disregard for the importance of the National Championships and the football community in general. FIFA completely disregards the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world,” a statement read.
REFEREES SOON TO SOUND
Why does an official take this or that decision and what is his conclusion after a video consultation? We could soon have this answer since in a reform started to review arbitration in depth, the French Football Federation (FFF) intends to sound the officials. The FFF has made a request to the International Football Association Board, the body which governs the laws of the game, and is awaiting a response. We will still try the experiment during a match between Olympique Lyonnais and Nantes, without the sound being broadcast live.
Matches to watch
PHILADELPHIA vs. MONTREAL
This is CF Montreal’s first home game this season. Hernan Losada’s side lost their first three games by shutout.
LEICESTER vs. BRENTFORD
Leicester have one foot in relegation since at 24 points the club is tied with two others, including Bournemouth which is the last club relegated.
LEEDS UNITED vs. WOLVERHAMPTON
Things haven’t improved for Leeds since the dismissal of Jesse Marsch, and the team are second-to-last on 23 points, but are also just one point away from climbing out of relegation.
MARSEILLES vs. REIMS
OM are ten points behind PSG and first place and must multiply their victories to stay in the game.
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