With a great scoring record at former clubs Molde, RB Salzburg and then Borussia Dortmund, many thought that young Norwegian international striker, Erling Haaland, might need a little bit of time to get used to the pace and physicality of the Premier League when he joined Manchester City back in the summer of 2022.
Time was something the now 23 year old did not need, as in his first season across all competitions, including international games, he scored 61 goals in 61 games, and as manager Pep Guardiola continues his preparations for today’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, Haaland has already played a total of 15 games, returning eleven goals so far (including international matches) but he has failed to find the net since September 23 when City took a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest, but few believe his goal draught will last too much longer given the obvious talent he has.
Given his impact for City since joining, Guardiola is now on record as saying that he believes that the player should be the run away winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or, and having lifted a historical treble for the Etihad Stadium outfit last season, he has already been named on the initial 30 candidate shortlist in light of his performances in his debut season.
“Haaland should win – Yes. We won the treble and he scored 50 million goals.”
With now Inter Miami attacker, a certain Lionel Messi, still expected to mount a real challenge for the trophy again this year and be one of Haaland’s biggest rivals, particularly, as the seven time winner already, played a key role in Argentina’s lifting of the 2022 World Cup trophy whilst still a Paris Saint-Germain player, Guardiola believes he really should have a category of his own now, so that other talents can begin to get their own recognition and accolades on that stage.
“The Ballon d’Or has to be two sections. One for Messi, and after look for the others. The worst season of Messi is the best for the rest.”
Although City are in a bit of a form dip right now, having lost their last two Premier League fixtures (the clashes with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal), despite Brighton’s own form under Roberto De Zerbi, that sees them sat in sixth place in the table, you would have to imagine City are odds on favourite to bounce back here and although it may not be a completely comfortable win, it would be a surprise to many if they do not come away with all three points.
Brighton fans will obviously be hoping for a different outcome.