FC Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font was adamant that after the losses incurred by major clubs, the forthcoming summer market will be prohibitive for big money moves.
FC Barcelona presidential candidate Víctor Font was blunt in his assessment of major clubs talking about signing the likes of Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappé as “irresponsible” due to the financial hit that all clubs have taken as a result of the impact of the covid pandemic.
Here at Barça, we can’t find a million and a half euro to sign Eric García, to talk about major name acquisitions is just ‘hot air’ and we need to treat our club members as adults. We simply won’t be able to make any big money signings this summer as the club has approximately between 150-200 million euro of new debt. Personally, I think Haaland is a wonderful talent and I speak as a fan. I can see things at Barcelona becoming slightly ‘Florentinizando’ as bolstering any team with the likes of Haaland or Mbappé is easy. It’s a trickier task to bring through young and unknown talents such as Pedri or Koundé. That would be our task ahead, creating the future stars of Barcelona”.
Font took a side swipe at Joan Laporta for the former president’s refusal to participate in open debates and deemed his actions as a ‘huge lack of respect’. Font also requested that club members avoid voting on whims and perceptions. He concluded by stating that he was determined in his task of convincing Leo Messi to remain at FC Barcelona and acknowledged that: “The result against PSG was a bitter pill and it showed up that, despite the good work by Ronald Koeman, we need to ensure there is a solid project at the club”.
This does not take anything away from any of his great performances. Since he shone at Salzburg, the striker has gone from strength to strength.
The striker hit a powerful spot kick against the crossbar. Haaland missed a spot kick for the first time in his career.
The Borussia Dortmund striker got a penalty in the Bundesliga clash versus Augsburg, but he hit the ball too hard.
His teammate Delaney appeared shortly afterwards to level.
Erling took a run up and hit a powerful spot kick which cannoned against the crossbar. The ball then went well over Gikiewicz’s goal. It was surprising as he is normally very reliable from 12 yards.
The last time he took a spot kick was on 19th September last year. That was back on matchday one against Borussia Monchengladbach. That day, he scored a brace to show why Dortmund signed him from Salzburg.
There is always a first time for everything and Haaland now knows what it is like to miss a penalty.
On top of Haaland, whose value may well approach the £100m mark, Chelsea are also keen on West Ham United’s Declan Rice, who has been valued at £80m in the past.
Chelsea are ready to push to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland this summer and are prepared to break their club transfer record to get the deal done.
Since joining Dortmund back in January 2020, Haaland has continued his rise towards the top of the football mountain. His tally of 35 goals in as many games for the club has seen the 20-year-old attract interest from nearly every top side on the planet.
Manchester United and Manchester City are keen, while Real Madrid are thought to be leading the race for Haaland’s signature, but The Athletic’s Simon Johnson has revealed that Chelsea are hopeful of swooping in and getting a deal done this summer.
Sources confirmed to NoRM in December that Chelsea had registered their interest with Haaland’s representatives, but the Blues had fears that City were putting together a proposal which would take the Norway international to the Etihad instead.
However, Chelsea believe that most of their competition are prepared to hold off on their bids until 2022, when Haaland will have a release clause of around £66m, so they are ready to swoop in this year and pay extra to sign him.
There is an awareness that Dortmund will demand a substantial figure for Haaland, but Chelsea have already decided that they are ready to exceed the £80m they have agreed to pay Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz to get a deal done.
Bringing in a world-class striker is thought to be high on the club’s agenda. Olivier Giroud is expected to leave in the summer and Frank Lampard wants someone else to compete with Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner.
On Werner, this pursuit of Haaland is no reflection of the German’s struggles in front of goal. Chelsea don’t see Haaland as a replacement for him, but rather a player who can compliment his skill set and bring out the best in him.
It is understood that the Blues are already planning for yet another eye-watering summer spending spree.
Club owner Roman Abramovich will have to dig deep into his pockets if he wants to make these deals happen, but Chelsea will definitely have to offload some of their fringe players for these plans to become reality.
While building up another £200m war chest is unlikely, Chelsea can raise a significant amount of money if they can find buyers for the likes of Marcos Alonso, Emerson, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho, all of whom are facing uncertain futures at the club.
Luka Jovic cost Real Madrid 60 million euros, and Zinedine Zidane has acknowledged that it was a signing made on his request, yet the Serbian hasn’t yet lived up to expectations at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, all whilst Erling Haaland is going from strength to strength.
There is clear uncertainty with regards to Jovic’s future in the Spanish capital, whilst fans are clamouring for the signing of Haaland to take his place, with some even going as far as to wonder just why he isn’t at the club already.
There are five clear reasons as to why Haaland would be a much better fit with Los Merengues than Jovic:
Passion against coldness Jovic showed his ability as a goalscorer during his excellent spell with Eintracht Frankfurt, but he is a very cold player. He’s too cold for what the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid stand for. Haaland is the polar opposite, he exudes passion in every single player he is involved in and easily connects with supporters, whether they are in the stands or not. In this regard, Haaland would very quickly create a bond with the club’s fans, something even Karim Benzema didn’t always do.
The speed of the Norwegian Haaland is possibly the fastest player in world football right now. His moving starts are barely believable and Los Blancos miss that kind of player in their attacking line. Jovic doesn’t have that speed.
Haaland is a leader Despite only joining the club in January 2020 and being just 20 years old, Haaland is already a leader at Borussia Dortmund. On the pitch he makes his teammates better and he drags them forward when things aren’t going well. Jovic is different, on the pitch he is a secondary figure and hasn’t showed the propensity for leadership in any of his appearances for the Spanish club. He doesn’t have the soul of a natural leader.
Haaland’s reliability is beyond question The Norwegian international gets better with every season that passes. He didn’t notice the change from Salzburg to Dortmund, the goals just kept coming, despite the fact the German side are one of the biggest in the world. His goalscoring averages are consistently excellent and you have to consider that the current iteration of Real Madrid is possibly one of the worst going forward that there has been since 2000. Jovic has only had one standout season and that came in Germany, and this generates doubt where there is none with Haaland.
Jovic has too many off-pitch problems The Serbian has had a difficult year on the pitch, but also away from it. He has too many problems away from football as we saw with him bypassing lockdown and travelling to Serbia, he then was at a barbecue in the middle of the pandemic, which was clearly prohibited. Finally, he suffered a strange injury whilst he was on holiday. This is simply too many problems for a club like Real Madrid. Where Haaland is concerned, you only ever hear about him scoring goal after goal, nothing away from the pitch.
Erling Haaland has underlined his commitment to Borussia Dortmund by insisting he wants to stay and win the Bundesliga title with the club in fresh transfer blow to Manchester United.
The Norwegian striker was wanted by United at the turn of the year before he decided to sign for Dortmund following his impressive goalscoring run in the Champions League.
United are chasing Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish but Solskjaer could also sign a striker after warning his players last month he would be ready to dip into the transfer market.
Haaland remains on United’s radar but the 20-year-old, who scored an astonishing 16 goals in 18 games for Dortmund last season, has pledged his future to the club.
Speaking to NobleSports,he said: ‘I have a long-term contract here until 2024. In any case, it is my big goal to win BVB the title and to celebrate fantastic successes with our fans.
‘We have the quality to become champions but talking alone is not enough. Bayern have distinguished themselves by their incredible consistency.’
Dortmund had to settle for a second-placed finish after Bayern finished the season strong to win their eighth successive title.
As well as United, Real Madrid were also keen on acquiring Haaland’s services but the striker appears to be staying put this summer.
Dortmund are however expected to face a tough battle to keep hold of England star Sancho.
The winger is being targeted by United, who as things stand are at odds with Dortmund’s £110million valuation of the player.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Sancho his No 1 priority this summer but there are fears that there plans to land him may be ruined by their fierce rivals Liverpool.
According to reports, Sancho’s preference could be to sign for Liverpool because of their greater title prospects.
United have been given a deadline of 13 days if they want to complete a sensational £110m deal for Sancho.
Erling Haaland has been given Borussia Dortmund’s No.9 jersey ahead of the 2020/21 season, replacing the No.17 he wore following his arrival at the club from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020.
Haaland follows in the footsteps of some iconic goal-scoring names at the Signal Iduna Park to have worn the No.9 shirt, including Paco Alcacer, Robert Lewandowski, Jan Koller, Stephane Chapuisat and Karl-Heinz Riedle – the latter two whom won the UEFA Champions League with the club in 1997.
The 19-year-old Haaland has made a stunning start to life in the Bundesliga, with 13 goals in his first 15 appearances during the second half of the 2019/20 season coming in at a rate of one every 82 minutes he played.
Along the way, Haaland became the first Bundesliga player ever to score six times in his first two games; seven times in his first three matches; eight in his opening five and nine in his maiden six games.
Haaland’s number change is one of several to have been confirmed by the club following the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign.
Thorgan Hazard has been handed the No.10, with Emre Can taking the Belgian’s former No.23 shirt. Centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou has been given the No.5 shirt, meanwhile, with full-back Spanish youngster Mateu Morey picking up his former No.2 jersey.
Dortmund have announced that all new jerseys bought by fans with the players’ previous numbers can be exchanged by the club.
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland had plenty of praise for team-mate and Manchester United target Jadon Sancho.
The Norweigan starlet joined the Bundesliga club in January from RB Salzburg and took his incredible goalscoring form with him to Germany. He has scored 16 goals in 17 appearances for Dortmund, whilst Sancho has 20 goals and 20 assists in all competitions for the German side.
When asked about Sancho’s qualities, Haaland told the News source: ‘His goals and assists this season speak for itself.’
‘You can see when he scores goals and dribbles past players it looks so easy. I played against him when I was 16 or 17 years old and he was the exact same – dribbling past players.
‘When I played against him then he was the best player I played against and now that I get to play with him it’s fantastic.
‘He assists me and we played good together. He’s as young as me and he’s amazing. He has a very bright future.’
Sancho is heavily linked with a move to Manchester United for a fee of around £117million.
Due to the high price tag, United are the only option for Sancho this summer as he looks to be Premier League bound, according to reports.
Haaland made a huge statement in Dortmund’s two-legged tie with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League Round of 16 earlier this season.
He scored a brace in the first leg at the Signal Iduna Park – with one of them being a thunderbolt from outside the box – and said scoring in that game was a ‘special moment’.
‘I scored goals at Salbzurg but now I am scoring goals for a bigger club against bigger clubs,’ Haaland described.
‘There was a lot of pressure building up before the game and I was just getting the horse power out of my leg. That moment was so special, I can’t describe it – just amazing. It was a fantastic night.’
PSG players appeared to mock Haaland’s meditation celebration after the Ligue 1 side knocked out Dortmund in the second leg.
The striker revealed that he was annoyed that they had crashed out of the competition, but was not bothered by them copying his celebration.
‘It annoyed me that we went out (the Champions League),’ he continued. ‘Now people know how much I love the Champions League.’
‘On the celebration, I am happy they did it. It doesn’t bother me to be honest.’
Juventus target Erling Braut Haaland has revealed he will not move away from Borussia Dortmund in the upcoming window: “I have just arrived.”
The Norwegian starlet impressed the European giants with his performances at RB Salzburg in the first half of the season and secured a move to BVB in January.
He had then been linked with a move to Juventus, among other big clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I live in the present,” Braut Haaland told WAZ regarding the future. “I have just arrived in Dortmund and I’m not thinking of leaving for now.”
Haaland reportedly has a €70m release clause in his current deal with Die Schwarzgelben, rumoured to become active in 2022, and the link with Mino Raiola sparked reports in Italy about a possible move to Juventus.
The 19-year-old has also quashed rumours that he could be heading out after only six months in Germany by talking about his targets for next season.
“Dortmund are one of the biggest clubs in the world. I have signed a long-term contract and I don’t think too much about the future,” he said
“I decide what is the best thing for my career here and now. I want to achieve something important with Borussia, not always be second, but also win the title as soon as possible.
“The next year we set targets, we want to score as many goals, and I as a striker want to contribute.”
Bayern Munich’s wait for the Bundesliga title continues as Erling Haaland’s late intervention saw Borussia Dortmund beat Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Erling Haaland scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner to secure Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 victory at Fortuna Dusseldorf that keeps their slim hopes of usurping Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich alive.
Lucien Favre’s men looked to be heading to a limp draw after Raphael Guerreiro’s second-half strike was disallowed for handball, with Fortuna hitting the post twice, but substitute Haaland headed home to ensure Bayern cannot go nine points clear with three matches left later on Saturday.
Dortmund had been the superior side in the first half, with Jadon Sancho crafting several opportunities – but without Haaland on the pitch after recent struggles with a knee problem, BVB were guilty of spurning some fine chances.
10′ Can’s header stopped by keeper
Dortmund win the first corner of the game, which Sancho whips into the penalty area and Can meets it, but he is unable to generate any power behind it and Kastenmeier comfortably gathers.
18′ CLOSE! Hakimi misses a golden chance!
Dortmund break forward straight from the Dusseldorf corner and Hakimi is released through on goal to the left by Sancho and only had Kastenmeier to beat, but he is unable to slide the ball underneath the keeper and Kastenmeier makes a terrific save to deny Dortmund the lead. Hakimi should’ve scored! The Dusseldorf defence then manage to get back and stop the rebound from going in.
24′ Unbelievable! What a miss from Brandt
Superb defending by Hoffmann after Brandt is played through on goal by Sancho, wonderful play by the winger to see Brandt only have Kastenmeier to beat. However, Hoffmann produced an excellent sliding tackle, to see the ball go out of play for a goal kick.
29′ Brandt’s shot stopped by keeper
Strong stop by Kastenmeier to deny Brandt, after lovely link up by between him and Sancho in the penalty area. However, the shot towards goal is too close to the keeper and Kastenmeier made a good save.
58′ Yellow Card! Hazard booked
Hazard is the first player to be booked today, after his shirt pull and then he kicks the ball away in frustration after being penalised.
65′ NO GOAL! Guerreiro goal but the goal is handball
Haaland tries to work space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it’s blocked and then bounces up, hits Guerreiro, before dropping down and he produces a superb volley to beat Kastenmeier. After a long look at the replay, the Dortmund goal is disallowed and it remains 0-0, huge let off for Dusseldorf. Guerreiro is claiming that it hit his shoulder.
81′ POST! Skrzybski almost score
Dusseldorf go close to taking the lead late on after Skrzybski’s low shot from the edge of the penalty area beating Burki and striking the bottom of the post, before bouncing away from goal. Very unlucky!
84′ Yellow Card! Hakimi booked
The latest yellow card is shown to Hakimi for his late foul on Skrzybski on the halfway line.
90+5′ GOAL! Dusseldorf 0-1 Dortmund (Haaland)
A superb cross comes onto the box by Akanji from the left wing, which Haaland meets perfectly in the middle of the box and he makes no mistakes with an excellent finish.
Dusseldorf XI: Suttner, Zimmermann, Berisha, N. Gießelmann, A. Hoffmann, K. Ayhan, K. Stöger, Karaman, Thommy, M. Sobottka, F. Kastenmeier
Subs: R. Hennings, M. Rensing, Jorgensen, A. Morales, S. Skrzybski, J. Zimmer, Kownacki, R. Bormuth, K. Ofori
Norwegian teenager Erling Braut Haaland is set to return from a knee injury for Borussia Dortmund’s trip to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday after missing the past two games.
“He’s been training since Wednesday, and did everything during the session. It’s going very well for him,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said Thursday.
Haaland, 19, has scored 10 goals in 11 Bundesliga outings since his January arrival from Salzburg. He was sidelined for recent wins over Paderborn and Hertha Berlin.
Second-placed Dortmund trail Bayern Munich by seven points with just four games remaining but could secure a Champions League spot this weekend with victory at struggling Dusseldorf if other results go their way.
Real Madrid are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho after a lack of progress in their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
Despite the coronavirus crisis, Standard Sport understands Los Blancos have money available to make a big signing this summer and Sancho’s spectacular season has not gone unnoticed at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The England attacker, who is wanted by Manchester United, has scored 20 goals in 39 appearances for BVB this term and returned to the starting line-up with a hat-trick against SC Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Sancho, who turned 20 in March, is on a list of secondary targets for Real Madrid and according to AS, he turned down an offer to sign for Los Blancos when he left Manchester City in 2017.
Real’s two main objectives in the transfer market are Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe and Sancho’s Dortmund team-mate Haaland as Madrid look for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo (who left in 2018) and a successor to Karim Benzema.
As things stand, Los Blancos are prepared to stick with what they have for another year, but their plans could change if the team’s goalscoring problems are exacerbated when LaLiga resumes.
Dortmund head coach on Jadon Sancho’s tribute to George Floyd Also, with rivals Barcelona set to bring in a new attacker (probably Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez), Madrid may feel obliged to follow suit.
A move for Sancho is also likely to be dependent on the future of Gareth Bale, who is no longer in the plans of coach Zinedine Zidane and will be available again in the next transfer window.
Borussia Dortmund’s title hopes took another blow at the Allianz Stadium when Erling Haaland was forced off in discomfort during the second half of Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich.
The Norwegian sensation and BVB went into Tuesday’s clash needing a win to close the gap on Bayern at the top of the table, after both teams recorded back-to-back wins in their first two fixtures following the return of the German top flight in May.
But Dortmund’s hopes were dealt a blow in the first 45 minutes when Joshua Kimmich’s shot looped over Roman Burki and into the net to open the scoring.
Midway through the second half, their chances of taking something from the clash were made to look even more remote when Haaland limped off the pitch.
The forward pulled up with 70 minutes on the clock in some pain, although he initially attempted to continue with his side looking to come back from 1-0 down.
After chasing a Jadon Sancho cross out of play, however, Haaland went to the floor and it immediately became apparent he would play no further part in the encounter.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre sent Giovanni Reyna, who was already warming up in anticipation of an imminent substitution, onto the field, while Haaland limped off behind the Bayern goal and made his way slowly to the away bench.
Now the Rhinelanders will face a nervous wait to find out whether the injury, which at first glance appeared to be a muscular complaint in the player’s right leg, proves serious enough as to keep him out for a significant part of the title run-in.
With 10 goals in just 12 league appearances since making the switch from Red Bull Salzburg in January, the youngster’s potency in front of the net has been key in keeping BVB’s challenge for the crown alive.
Currently second in the Bundesliga standings, Dortmund are back in action on Sunday away to Paderborn, before hosting Hertha Berlin the following Saturday.
A Bayern victory on Tuesday will mean the Bavarians open a seven-point advantage at the Bundesliga summit with just six games left to play, leaving them on the verge of a record eighth consecutive title.
Comparing Erling Haaland to Robert Lewandowski is premature, Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick has said ahead of the Bundesliga top-of-the-table clash.
Erling Haaland cannot yet be compared to Robert Lewandowski, according to Hansi Flick, though Bayern Munich’s coach firmly believes Borussia Dortmund have a star in their ranks ahead of Der Klassiker, which will be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus protocols. Haaland has hit the ground running since his move to Dortmund in January, continuing the stellar form he showed in the first half of the season for Salzburg.
The 19-year-old has scored 10 goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances, propelling Dortmund on in the title race.
Lucien Favre’s side sit four points behind leaders Bayern heading into Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors Klassiker at Signal Iduna Park.
Haaland’s form has been touted as a potential match for former Dortmund striker Lewandowski, who netted his 41st goal of the season in all competitions in Bayern’s 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, yet Flick believes it is too early for such comparisons to be made.
Flick: Haaland is “greedy, enormous but still agile” “It is [Haaland’s] first season, so comparing him now is too early,” Flick told reporters. “Robert has always been at a world-class level in recent years. But Haaland is a huge talent. He is a young player, but he has a huge pull towards the goal. He just wants to finish.
“He has a brilliant dynamic. He is greedy, is an enormous size but is still agile. But we don’t just have to watch out for him [on Tuesday].”
Flick, who is anticipating a resilient Dortmund performance, also acknowledged the peculiarity of playing such a pivotal match in front of no supporters, due to the coronavirus crisis.
“It is a very special game,” Flick said as he was asked if playing behind closed doors could present an advantage to Bayern.
“The atmosphere can inspire any team. It is about how you can cope with it. You have to accept the current situation. You can’t look for an excuse. We have to implement the match plan.”
Thomas Müller has been in scintillating form since Flick took charge of Bayern, and was at his best once more against Frankfurt, providing his 17th league assist of the season before helping himself to a seventh goal of the campaign.
“Thomas is a player who can lead a team very well and gives commands over and over again,” Flick added.
“He played very well against Frankfurt and was always available – he brought dynamism into play. Thomas has enormous experience but wants to win every game.
“He embodies ‘Mia san Mia’ perfectly and knows that he has to go to the limit again and again to win games.”
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? It’s the question that has defined a decade of football; the cause of innumerable arguments across the globe.
In the age of social media, you are not allowed to appreciate both. You have to pick one or the other. And whom you chose apparently tells you a lot about how you view the game. As Luis Figo famously argued, it really is a question of taste: “It’s like choosing between white truffle or caviar.”
Indeed, the one thing that everyone agrees on is that both are incredible; both belong in the conversation on the best player of all time. They are, after all, responsible for an unprecedented rivalry in the history of the game: two all-time greats on opposite sides of the Clasico divide for nine years, pushing one another to scale even greater heights.
As Messi himself told DAZN: “It was a duel that will last forever because it went on for many years, and it isn’t easy to keep at your highest level for so long – especially at those two clubs we were at, which were so demanding, in Real Madrid and Barcelona, the best clubs in the world.
“Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever. The sporting rivalry between us was very nice on a personal level. I think that the fans also enjoyed it, be they Madrid or Barca supporters, or just those who like football.”
It is not over yet, of course. Ronaldo and Messi may be 35 and 32, respectively, but they have yet to show any real signs of letting up. The Portuguese may have changed teams, leaving Real for Juventus in 2018, but the rivalry with Messi endures; the debate rages on – at least among their most ardent supporters.
When Ronaldo transferred to Turin, his fans followed. Juventus’ social media numbers skyrocketed, highlighting this new phenomenon of some supporters prioritising players over clubs. These very modern consumers of football have a favourite player – not a favourite team, which begs a far more pressing question than Messi or Ronaldo: What happens after the pair retire?
Will football lose followers? The two greatest protagonists in the most absorbing drama of the past decade will have left the stage – will some of the audience leave before the next act? After all, how could anything top what has gone before?
Ronaldo and Messi have distorted our perceptions of what is possible on a football field, making the extraordinary, ordinary. They have altered our idea of what constitutes an excellent goal-scoring season. Anything less than 50 goals a season could, in future, be construed as underwhelming.
And that is the key here: consistency.
“They’ve done it for so long,” Spanish football writer Andy West told Goal. “They’ve barely taken a week off. They’ve both had the physical fitness to play 40 or 50 games a year. Neither of them have really had serious injuries problems, which is amazing in itself. If you go back over the history of the game, there are very, very few players who are able to sustain that excellence for so long.
“Even if you look at players just from my lifetime, such as the Brazilian Ronaldo, he was the best player in the world at his peak, but he had so many injury problems that meant he was only at his greatest for a short period of time.
“They’ve not given anybody else has had a look in. There have been lots and lots of great players over the past decade who would have previously had a claim on being the best player in the world but they’ve not even been close. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Nobody has been close to the level of Messi and Ronaldo.”
Hazard and Neymar? Not even someone like Eden Hazard. The Belgium international was one of the best players in the world for years, lighting up the Premier League with his wing wizardry at Chelsea. However, even Hazard has admitted that he is simply incapable of matching Ronaldo and Messi’s numbers, as so painfully underlined by the 29-year-old’s form and fitness issues in his first year at Real Madrid.
“I often ask myself what I can do to become like Messi and Ronaldo and get 50 or 60 goals in a season,” he confessed to Sport/Foot. I try, of course, but I realise that I will never be a true goalscorer like them. It’s not in me. It is mainly mental: at 2-0, not thinking that is enough for example. Sometimes I still think after a goal, ‘That’s enough.’
“I’m not in search of records like some other players – if I can score between 15 and 20 goals each season, I will be very happy.”
One could never imagine Messi or Ronaldo being content with such a tally.
Of course, for the sake of narrative, they are portrayed as polar opposites: Messi is the quiet, unassuming genius who puts the team first; Ronaldo the self-made goal-scoring machine who takes as much pride in his appearance as his records. Both are crude caricatures, which do both a disservice. Messi can be as ruthless as Ronaldo; Ronaldo can be as magnanimous as Messi.
In addition, they are bound not only by brilliance but also determination, an inner drive that has seen both make the absolute most of their considerable skills.
Which is perhaps why Neymar is no longer the favourite to step into the spotlight when Messi and Ronaldo bow out. There have never been any doubts over the Brazilian’s ability but his level of focus has long been a cause for concern.
Neymar’s situation has hardly improved in the interim. If anything, that storm has only worsened. As has his physical condition.
Since moving to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has been blighted by injuries and ill-discipline. At 28, his career path now looks more likely to follow that of Ronaldinho than Ronaldo, having, thus far, failed to strike the perfect balance between sporting and commercial growth.
Time For Mbappe and Haaland? But what about the next generation? Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are considered the frontrunners to fill the void that Messi and Ronaldo will leave behind. Both are extraordinary young talents.
Mbappe is the only man other than Pele to have scored in a World Cup final as a teenager; Haaland is the youngest player in history to score 10 Champions League goals, having reached that mark in just seven matches.
Their potential is as obvious as it is enormous. Questions remain, of course. Can they sustain their fine form? Will they avoid serious injuries? Will they be as dedicated to their profession as Messi and Ronaldo?
Both are considered colourful characters. Haaland’s former Red Bull Salzburg team-mate Maximilian Wober described the Norwegian to Goal as “crazy insane” yet recalled how the striker would spend his time on away trips “reading scientific articles on who he could improve his sleep pattern or diet” while the rest of the team were playing cards.
In a similar vein, Mbappe once skipped a party in honour of Monaco’s shock 2016-17 Ligue 1 title triumph so that he could get enough rest to be in peak physical condition for the following day’s training session. The Frenchman was only a teenager back then, though, and there having been growing concerns about his allegedly egotistical behaviour since being taken under Neymar’s wing in Paris, as underlined by his recent spats with PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.
Mbappe has admitted himself that he is “not a hard worker” but is still regarded by journalists who follow the French league and national team closely as someone who simply loves playing football. As long as he retains that passion for the game, he should – like Haaland – continue to rack up record after record.
Of course, it would be unfair to expect anyone to equal Messi or Ronaldo’s remarkable strike-rates. Or carry the game into a new era, for that matter. Besides, it’s not as if the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry has been the only show in town over the past 10 to 15 years.
Messi has never played in the Premier League, while Ronaldo left in 2009 – yet the English top-flight is by some distance the most watched and, consequently, the richest championship in club football. There are, of course, many reasons for its global popularity: the sheer pace of the game separates it from its European rivals; what it loses in quality, it makes up for in frenzied entertainment.
In addition, the almost total absence of running tracks around its pitches only accentuates the raucous atmosphere generated by the massive and passionate crowds found with its modern stadia. England changed its practices and image following the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies of the 1980s, and reaped the rewards.
With the advent of the Premier League in 1992, English football became a perfectly packaged product expertly sold to audiences across the globe by BSkyB and, in turn, the further riches bestowed upon clubs by the sale of overseas TV rights enabled the acquisition of some of the most talented and charismatic characters in football. All of this, coupled with the sport’s innate capacity for unscripted drama, made the Premier League compelling viewing.
Essentially, football faces a far more pressing concern than the imminent retirement of two living legends, with the Covid-19 pandemic having plunged the game into financial crisis that represents a very real existential threat for clubs and leagues across the world.
By its very nature, though, football is a simple game. Its popularity will not be dimmed by the pandemic; if anything, it may be enhanced by it, as people become even more appreciative of a sport that can be played by anyone with a ball.
So, if football can survive Covid-19, it can survive the loss of Messi and Ronaldo. The show will go on. But so too will the debate over who was better: Messi or Ronaldo?
There will never be an agreement, of course, but that is beside the point.
As Messi says, his rivalry with Ronaldo is a duel that will last forever.
Erling Haaland has dubbed his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Gio Reyna ‘The American Dream’ after the 17-year-old made his mark in the Bundesliga this season.
Haaland, the Norwegian starlet who joined the Dortmund in the January transfer window, said he is amazed by Reyna’s ability to play without fear and attack with intent.
‘He’s 17-and-a-half soon, so at such a young age to be so calm on the ball and play for such a big team, it’s very fascinating to see how calm he is, and he doesn’t care about anything, he just jumps right into it,’ he told ESPN.
‘He’s a top talent, and we’re lucky to have him here. The American Dream, I call him that.’
Reyna, son of Claudio who played for Sunderland in the Premier League, made his first-team debut for Dortmund on January 18 and has since played a role from the bench in the last six Bundesliga games.
Reyna went on to make history, becoming the third-youngest player to appear in the Champions League knockout stages when Dortmund played against PSG on February 18.
Erling Haaland said five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has been an inspirational figure.
Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland said Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is an inspiration.
Haaland has been a revelation in 2019-20, his exploits already linking him with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid.
The 19-year-old striker scored 28 goals in all competitions for Salzburg this term before joining Dortmund in January, netting another 12 in just 11 appearances prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
And Haaland said five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has been an inspirational figure.
“You could just see it in Ronaldo’s face that ‘today I’m the man’ and ‘today, I will score goals’ and that’s what he did,” Haaland told ESPN, having watched Ronaldo growing up.
“That’s what I like the best, how dedicated and hungry they are to succeed and to be the man in the moment.”
On his incredible start to life at Bundesliga outfit Dortmund, Haaland added: “It’s been a very good start and from my debut I’ve been enjoying it a lot and smiling a lot and these kind of things and that’s what’s the most important about my life, to smile a lot and these kind of things. So, yeah, that’s what I try to do the most.
“I feel I’m Improving every day and now that I play with even better team-mates than what I played with in Salzburg – all respect to Salzburg – but yeah, they can find me in even better situations and this, so yeah it’s been good. It’s been a good first months.”
Haaland was mocked by Neymar and the Paris Saint-Germain squad after Dortmund lost to the Ligue 1 holders in the Champions League last 16.
A first-leg brace from Haaland gave Dortmund a 2-1 win over PSG before the French champions rallied to prevail 2-0 and 3-2 on aggregate in March.
Haaland celebrated his two goals in the opening leg by sitting cross-legged and pretending to meditate – a celebration Neymar mimicked at the Parc des Princes, where PSG team-mates followed post-game.
“I think they helped me a lot to get meditation out in the world and to show the whole world that meditation is an important thing so I’m thankful that they helped me with that,” Haaland said.
Christian Vieri believes Erling Haaland is the best striker in the world, and will eventually go to a new team for a world record fee.
Speaking on an Instagram Live interview with Corriere della Sera, the former prolific Italian striker claimed: ‘In a couple of years he will go to a great team for €200million, maybe €300million (£260million).’
After scoring 29 goals in 27 games for Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland made a move to Borussia Dortmund in a £17million deal in January.
‘Haaland is the strongest of all [strikers] and has done well to choose Borussia Dortmund, the best club to enhance his talents,’ said Vieri.
And Vieri, who scored 194 goals in 374 games during his career at clubs such as Juventus, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid, is likely hard to impress.
Haaland was attracting the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United before making his move to Germany, and after impressing so far with 12 goals in 11 games, it seems likely Dortmund will demand a much higher asking price if he is to move on.
Erling Haaland is capable of becoming “one of the best players in the world”, says Red Bull Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch, with the prolific Norwegian tipped to be “fun to watch in the coming years”.
The 19-year-old striker is already entertaining audiences across the planet with his prolific exploits at a young age.
He has reached the 40-goal mark in the 2019-20 campaign, with efforts for Salzburg earning him a January switch to Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland’s potential had been noted by several sides before he headed to Germany and the expectation is that he will be on the move again in the not too distant future.
Real Madrid are said to be readying an approach, with the Blancos eager to position themselves at the front of any transfer queue.
A switch to Spain would present Haaland with an even greater stage on which to showcase his talent, with Marsch expecting the youngster to reach the very top of the game.
The American told ESPN FC of a player he worked with in Austria: “First, his physical qualities, his speed, his power, he can get to top speed from like one step, his size, all of these things for me put him right away in the upper echelon of players. He’s got the potential to be one of the best players in the world.
“What makes Erling so special is his mentality.
“To start with, he was in the youth World Cup, he scored nine goals in one game. We gave every one of our players who had international obligations three weeks off before they were supposed to come with us. Erling had six days off and then said ‘no, I want to come to camp’.
“Erling came to Salzburg last winter, he played one game in spring, so he had a lot of sitting on the bench. He was so keen to start proving himself, right away I knew this kid had ambition and grind.
“In the first training sessions, you could see his competitiveness. He was often the first guy at training and the last one to leave.
“There were days when I had to tell him to go home and rest.
“He’s fearless, he’s competitive, he’s got a drive to get better, he’s equipped with so many qualities that make him very different and special, along with the ability and pure talent, he’ll be fun to watch in the coming years, that’s for sure.”
Dortmund intend to be the ones to benefit from Haaland’s obvious qualities, but their resolve will likely be tested at some stage if the teenager is able to maintain his stunning strike rate.
The German daily has refuted speculation that Real Madrid are poised to pay the Norwegian striker’s buy-out clause. The player isn’t thinking of leaving Dortmund.
In Germany, the general consensus is that Erling Haaland won’t be moving from Borussia Dortmund any time soon. German daily Bild has vehemently rejected speculation about a 75 million euro buy-out clause which will be triggered this summer if Real Madrid make a serious move for the player. “It’s false information ,” the paper explained in its online version today, adding that any such clause would not come into effect before the summer of 2021. Bild goes on to explain that should BVB change their minds about Haaland and decide to put him on the market, the asking price would be much higher than that believed to be in his buy-out clause.
Haaland keen to stay in Dortmund
And on top of that, according to Bild, Haaland, who is under contract until 2024 is not contemplating a move away from Dortmund during the next transfer window. Borussia Dortmund only signed the player relatively recently, paying Red Bull Salzburg 20 million euros for him back in December – so maybe he isn’t interested in another move and more upheaval.
Haaland’s close circle are also convinced that the Bundesliga is the perfect place for him to develop. “I feel at home.” Erling said. His objective is to play in the Premier League one day – as Bild note in their article, which they end with an ominous line for madridistas: “Tough times for Madrid fans”.
Real Madrid are reportedly on the hunt for both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland to lead a new era of dominance at the Bernabeu.
Haaland has enjoyed an astonishing breakthrough season in Europe, first at RB Salzburg before joining Borussia Dortmund, where he has scored 12 goals in just 11 matches.
Meanwhile, French World Cup winner Mbappe has been on the radar of the Spanish giants for years now and Zinedine Zidane is a massive fan of the Paris Saint-Germain striker.
And according to Spanish publication Marca, Madrid are looking to raid both Dortmund and PSG to get the two young superstars to fire them to glory.
The arrival of Luka Jovic, who was brought in to complement Karim Benzema up top from Frankfurt last summer, hasn’t worked out.
Meanwhile with the Frenchman getting no younger, they know they need a new striker to lead the line for years to come.
And Haaland reportedly stands above everyone else for Madrid, and the Spanish giants are looking to acquiring his signature in the summer in a £66million deal – which is his release clause at Dortmund.
Furthermore, Zidane’s side are seeking to sign French forward Mbappe in the summer of 2021.
With Neymar’s future in doubt – with the Brazilian continuously linked with a return to Barcelona – PSG will not want both of their star forwards to leave in the same window.
Mbappe is reportedly not desperate to leave the Parc des Princes just yet, and for Madrid and PSG, proposing a transfer in 2021 might suit them both more.
Madrid are reportedly expected to be patient and only approach the transfer when both Mbappe and PSG are willing to discuss his future.
Meanwhile, in the summer of 2021, Mbappe will only have one year left on his contract so Madrid might be able to get their transfer target at a cheaper rate.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is planning a sensational double swoop for ‘chosen one’ Paul Pogba and wonderkid Erling Braut Haaland this summer.
Zidane is looking to bring more ‘physical robustness’ into his Los Blancos side in order to switch their play style next season. He wants to play for less possession but hurt teams more on the counter attack, according to NobleSports Reliable Source.
The French manager has always been an admirer of Paul Pogba and has been linked heavily with the Manchester United midfielder for the past couple seasons.
Zidane would hope to bring the Frenchman to the Bernabeu to play in midfield alongside Toni Kroos and just in front of Casemiro. It is suggested that Fede Valverde would lose his place in the side despite having a super first season at Madrid.
The club will also look to strengthen their attacking options with Karim Benzema nearing the end of his peak years at 32 years old.
Haaland became hot property in the last 12 months after some barnstorming performances for RB Salzburg.
The striker landed himself a transfer to Borussia Dortmund in January and has continued to impress with 16 goals and six assists from 14 Bundesliga matches.
Zidane is aware of his ageing squad, with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Toni Kroos all over the age of 30.
However, the financial impact on Real Madrid from the suspension of La Liga due to the coronavirus pandemic is still unknown but could effect their summer spending.