40 goals in 35 CL games
Guardiola jokes about constant praise for record man Haaland
November 29, 2023, 10:28 a.m
Superlatives are still not enough for Erling Haaland. Manchester City’s over-striker is breaking one record after another, including in the Champions League – this time much to the chagrin of RB Leipzig. His coach Pep Guardiola, amused and annoyed, asks himself what else he should say.
Pep Guardiola is annoyed. He always has to talk about his mega-successful goalscorer. Erling Haaland always gives his coach at Manchester City the same barrage of questions. A luxury problem! With his goal in the 54th minute in the 3-2 win in the Champions League game against RB Leipzig, the Norwegian made football history again. It was the 23-year-old’s 40th goal in the premier class.
Haaland only needed 35 games to reach this mark. That is ten less than the Dutch former professional Ruud van Nistelrooy, who previously held the record. Even Guardiola, who has been used to superlatives in his office for years, is slowly running out of accolades. “Again? Do I have to tell you again?” the star coach joked when asked to comment on Haaland. “A thousand million times, I’m really impressed. You won today. Another record. Congratulations. He’s a fantastic player. I’ve told you many times that we are very, very happy.”
No wonder, he scored most of the goals while wearing a Manchester City jersey. Haaland scored a total of 17 times for the English champions in the Champions League. There are also 15 goals for Borussia Dortmund and eight for Red Bull Salzburg. The fact that he scored 40 goals at just 23 years and 130 days also makes him the youngest player to reach this mark. The previous record holder was PSG star Kylian Mbappé, who now has 43 goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo (still) has a big lead
“We love him, not just for the goals he scores, but also for many other things,” Guardiola said of Haaland. What was even more important on Tuesday evening, however, was that the striker’s goal was the start of overtaking the Bundesliga club; Leipzig had taken the lead thanks to two goals from Loïs Openda. It was the first time since 2018 that City had trailed by two goals.
“We pissed them off with the result at halftime,” said Leipzig coach Marco Rose. “It was clear what awaited us. The 1:2 gave the game a new direction.” Because then came Haaland – and the turning point.
The Norwegian has long been used to record hunting. He manages to create a new one almost every week. Just four days ago he shattered the goal record in the Premier League; the 23-year-old scored his 50th goal in his 48th league game against Liverpool FC. He is usually the youngest, the highest-scoring, the most sensational. He is currently in 20th place in the all-time Champions League goalscorer list, and with his 50th goal he would overtake Thierry Henry. But it will probably take some time even for Haaland to get to the top: Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list – with 140 goals.