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Erling Haaland: “Scoring goals is my superpower”

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Five goals in a Champions League game – no professional has ever scored more.
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“It would have been boring if he had set a record at the age of 22,” said Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola with a wink as to why he replaced Erling Haaland. By the 63rd minute, the ex-Salzburger had scored five goals in the 7-0 win over Leipzig in the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League.

Only Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona/2012) and Luiz Adriano (Schachtar Donetsk/2014) had previously scored five times in a Champions League match, Guardiola denied Haaland the chance to become the sole record holder with the exchange. “I told him that I would have liked to have scored a double hat trick, but what should I do?” said Haaland, who also set records with a smile: The Norwegian is the youngest player to have scored 30 goals in the Champions League , now with 39 competitive goals, he is Manchester City’s top scorer in a season. He surpassed the record held by Tommy Johnson since 1928/29.

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“Scoring goals is my superpower,” explained Haaland. “Some of the goals I just didn’t think about, just trying to put the ball in the net. You have to be quick in your head.” Guardiola never spares praise for his players anyway, he described Haaland after the final whistle with a staccato of superlatives. “Incredible guy, huge talent. Power, mentality, he’s a serial winner. Really good.”

“A Special Guy”

The Haaland show did not come as a surprise for Leipzig coach Marco Rose, as he had already looked after the exceptional talent in Salzburg and Dortmund. “I know Erling very well. I know his qualities. We had to learn that bitterly.” Before the game, the German had warned that Haaland could “never be completely eliminated”. That came true and amazed the people of Leipzig. “He’s really good in front of goal, no matter what, he’s always there. He has the sense and feel of where the ball is going,” said Emil Forsberg. Defense chief Willi Orban added: “The boy is a special guy.” Konrad Laimer went down with Leipzig. Defender Benjamin Henrichs: “We were more or less eaten up. It hurts badly.”

Manchester City stormed into the quarter-finals for the sixth consecutive season, so there are more chances for Haaland records. “Now we have another goal for the future,” Guardiola said of his striker’s potential six-goal game.

But the big goal is the Champions League trophy on June 10 in the final in Istanbul. Haaland personally dusted off a trophy in a tracksuit after the final whistle against Leipzig: he snatched the match point from referee Slavko Vincic.

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