Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has compared superstar striker Erling Haaland to Cristiano Ronaldo, although he insists Lionel Messi remains a “more complete player” than the other two.
Despite worries about his fitness before the game, Haaland scored a brace in Manchester City’s 21st Premier League victory of the season, including an impressive bicycle kick. He now has scored 44 goals in all competitions.
Already City’s all-time leading goal-scorer in a single season, Haaland’s brace took his league tally for the season to 30 in only 27 appearances in the English top-flight.
The Norwegian may still feature in up to nine more Premier League games and, if he continues to score at his current rate, could add another ten goals before the season ends.
That would bring Haaland’s tally to 40, breaking Andy Cole’s (1993/94) and Alan Shearer’s (1994/95) single-season Premier League record of 34. Those records were set throughout the course of a 42-game season.
Mohamed Salah holds the record for most games played in a 38-game season with 32.
After the match, when quizzed about how Haaland compares to Ronaldo and Messi, Guardiola was in full praise of Haaland, and said: “In terms of the thesis of scoring goals. He’s quite similar in terms of Cristiano but Messi is the more complete player. Messi can play wherever while Cristiano and Erling are machines.
“Erling knows those two guys dominated over two decades not just one or two seasons, winning titles and doing everything.
“Football is a better place for Cristiano and Messi for what they have done for our business, the traction of these two guys competing at the big clubs.
“Erling is arriving in the toughest league in the world. I can talk as I’ve been in other leagues and doing what he has done is remarkable. Erling is here for these types of games, it was a little bit hard but he has the ability from an incredible assist from Kevin [De Bruyne] to break the game.”
Guardiola’s team are focused to win a third successive title, while they can still do a tremendous treble by winning the FA Cup, the Champions League, and the Premier League.