Pep Guardiola, the head coach of Manchester City, claimed that Erling Haaland and Lionel Messi both possess an insatiable need for goals.
On Sunday against West Ham in the Premier League, the new signing scored twice to lead the defending champions to a 2-0 victory.
In the first half of the game in London, the Norwegian international scored his first goal from the penalty spot before latching onto a pass from Kevin De Bruyne and netting his second goal shortly after the hour mark.
Despite having a commanding start to life in the English Premier League, Haaland was not happy with his double and expressed disappointment that he did not score a hat-trick, claiming that “it’s sh*t.”
Messi and Haaland are compared by Pep Guardiola
The 22-year-old Norwegian striker’s will to keep scoring pleased Guardiola, who compared such a trait to his time at Barcelona, and the legendary forward Messi, who is currently a player for Paris Saint-Germain.
In a post-game press conference, Guardiola said: “That’s good, I like it.
“I was fortunate as manager to be with Messi and when he scored two, he wanted three, and when scored three, he wants four.
“The top goalscorers are never satisfied, they are always hungry and starving and want more.”
Haaland’s performance helped him bounce back from his last City performance. The Community Shield match between his team and Liverpool ended in a 3-1 loss for Norway, and the international player was left feeling humiliated after missing a fantastic opportunity.
Guardiola continued: “I know how he handled a lot of criticism this week. He was really calm, he trained really well but the way he took the ball for the penalty, I said ‘I like it’.
“[He’s] so direct and I think if someone is taking the ball, he would punch them in the face even though they are his mates. And that is a pretty good sign. To be so confident, I like it.”
Pep Guardiola sees Haaland as a weapon
Considering Haaland’s great performances with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, there are high expectations for him at City.
In 24 Bundesliga outings last season and 28 games the year before, Haaland scored 27 goals.
Guardiola says that the squad cannot rely solely on the striker to score goals, despite his confidence in his ability to continue scoring.
“Erling getting two goals is crucial for him, the team, and us, and it gives us a new tool,” he said.
“He will, however, bring something to the table for the team as a whole; he won’t fix all of our difficulties. We are searching for that.
“The two goals scored today were balls in front of the defense’s center, and we thought we could have found him more easily.
“The men need to put the ball there, especially in transitions, because previously we didn’t have a reference like him.”
Erling Haaland, a player for Borussia Dortmund, was born on July 21, 2000, in Leeds. From 2006 to 2017, he was a member of Bryne FK, followed by Molde FK from 2017 to 2018, FC Red Bull Salzburg from 2019 to 2019, and Borussia Dortmund since 2020.
Bundesliga Career and Records
Erling Haaland played in 67 games throughout his time in the Bundesliga. 44 of them he has won. He has competed in every game of his professional career with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
He played for Borussia Dortmund from 2021–2022, the season in which he scored nine goals, which was the most of any player. Erling Haaland is currently ranked 10th on the active scoring table with a total of 62 goals scored in the Bundesliga.
Erling Haaland at 21
- Nation (apps/goals): Norway (13/7)
- Clubs: Molde (50/20), Red Bull Salzburg (27/29), Borussia Dortmund (59/57)
- Overall goals: 113
- Goal to game ratio: 0.75
Kylian Mbappe at 21
- Nation: France (39/16)
- Clubs: AS Monaco (60/27), PSG (138/103)
- Overall goals: 146
- Goal to game ratio: 0.61
Robert Lewandowski at 21
- Nation: Poland (10/3)
- Clubs: Znicz Pruszkow (32/21), Lech Poznan (43/19)
- Overall goals: 43
- Goal to game ratio: 0.5
Lionel Messi at 21
- Nation: Argentina (30/9)
- Clubs: Barcelona (110/42)
- Overall goals: 51
- Goal to game ratio: 0.36
Cristiano Ronaldo at 21
- Nation: Portugal (30/11)
- Clubs: Sporting (31/5), Manchester United (118/22)
- Overall goals: 38
- Goal to game ratio: 0.21
Goals by 21st birthday:
1. Kylian Mbappe (146)
2. Erling Haaland (133)
3. Lionel Messi (51)
4. Robert Lewandowski (43)
5. Cristiano Ronaldo (38)
Goals per game by 21st birthday:
1. Erling Haaland (0.75)
2. Kylian Mbappe (0.61)
3. Robert Lewandowski (0.5)
4. Lionel Messi (0.36)
5. Cristiano Ronaldo (0.21)
In terms of goals per minute, Erling Haaland is the best striker of the five (at age 21), although Mbappe had already amassed more goals by the same point in his career.
The pair are miles ahead of Messi, Ronaldo, and Lewandowski at the same age, which is the key insight.