Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola compared Erling Haaland, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after Haaland scored an acrobatic goal for City against Southampton at St Mary’s.
The Norwegian marked his return from injury with a sensational display helping City walloped Southampton to close in on Arsenal on the Premier League top.
Haaland stole the show and obviously impressed Pep Guardiola on his return from groin injury after the international break but Pep still have some reservations comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Speaking after his sides overwhelming display over Southampton, Pep Guardiola lauded Erling Haaland’s difference in the game.
Referring to him as a goal-machine in the rank of Cristiano Ronaldo, Guardiola said Erling Haaland is still far from reckoning with Lionel Messi.
Guardiola subtly waded into the goat debate after his frank admission on Haaland. In other words, he tips Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo despite his immense respect for the two players.
Hailing Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo’s agility in front of goal, the former Bayern Munich manager said Lionel Messi is more “a complete player” than Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo.
According to him, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland are machines who can poach the goals in their numbers as forwards when teed up at the right spot in front but Lionel Messi is a perfect playmaker who can play and exert command at any point in the game.
“Yes, Erling Haaland is like Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to scoring goals but Leo is a very complete player who can play anywhere,” Guardiola said.
The former Barcelona manager further severed Erling Haaland from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, seeming to do justice to the two football greats.
According to him, despite Erling Haaland’s attractive record at Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester City he is yet to rub shoulders with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who have dominated the game for over a decade.
He added Erling Haaland will need a lot of work to reach the level of the two football greats, who rarely gets injured in the game.
“Erling Haaland is very competitive but he will have to work harder to match Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He will need care and attention from physios to reach that level.”
Pep Guardiola also expressed concern on Erling Haaland’s “freakish build” which could impact his long-term fitness to stay on for long in the game like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Before being subbed off in the game for Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland led the rout for Manchester City against the Saints.
He scored two goals in the game and his second was a mind-blowing acrobatic goal. Left unmarked in the far post, Erling Haaland clipped Jack Grealish’s cross from the left wing into the net with a stunning bicycle kick.
STOP IT MAN! 💨— SuperSport Football ⚽️ (@SSFootball) April 8, 2023
No way, Erling Haaland is just different gravy 😤#SOUMCI pic.twitter.com/I15s5dK0BZ
His goal sank the hosts as they trailed 3-0 before Mara put one back for the Saints. Julian Alvarez then scored a late spotkick as City wrap up the win in style.
With his brace against Southampton, Erling Haaland has now racked up 30 Premier League goals in his debut season for Manchester City.