Erling Haaland: New transfer move comes to light as Man City striker is trolled by Spanish media
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has been torn to shreds by the Spanish media after putting in a quiet performance in their Champions League semi-final first-leg at the Bernabeu.
The Norwegian goal machine has an astonishing 51 strikes to his name from 47 appearances this season. On course to be named Football of the Year, Haaland has broken almost every record possible during his debut season.
Indeed, you check out his remarkable stats and all the records he has broken right here.
However, Haaland has drawn a blank in his last two outings, against the city of his birth, Leeds, and on Tuesday night against Real.
Shackled extremely well by the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Haaland was limited to just two meaningful attemps on goal, though neither proved troublesome for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
And the striker was somewhat overshadowed by Los Blancos forward Vinicius Jnr, who opened the scoring in spectacular style.
City rescued a draw on the night from an equally-impressive Kevin De Bruyne goal of their own. And that means it will be all to play for at the Etihad in next Wednesday’s semi-final second leg.
However, much of the reaction in Spain focused on how the Madrid defence had largely shackled Haaland.
And his performance drew widespread criticism in the Spanish press. Indeed, Marca rated his display as just a 3/10, with the player managing just 21 touches of the ball in total.
By contrast, they offered his marker – former Chelsea man Rudiger – a 10/10 rating.
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Rudiger revels in keeping out Haaland
And the German proudly proclaimed afterwards that City ‘were not dangerous’.
“They got the goal quite late so we feel like we could have had more but it’s not a problem, the tie is definitely on and we can go to Manchester with confidence.”
While not falling into the trap of referencing Haaland in particular, Rudiger could not resist a quip about City’s lack of a goal threat.
“At the end of the day they were not dangerous. They had a lot of possession, we knew this would happen, but they were not dangerous. The goal is quality from De Bruyne.”
When asked if he was confident that Real could knock City out in the second leg, Rudiger replied: “We are Real Madrid. We are always confident.”
Courtois, meanwhile, has also revealed how Real adjusted their tactics to nullify Haaland’s threat.
“If you want to defend against Haaland, you don’t give him the space to run. We tried to avoid that,” he said.
“We played well. As a consequence they shot more from distance. It pushed us deeper.
“A good draw and everything to play for next week. It will be like a final. We’re quite good at winning finals. Hopefully we can mentalise it like that.
“Man City are a team who play with possession. With Haaland they play more direct. Sometimes in the Premier League Ederson kicks really deep. We dropped down to not give them that space.
“Sometimes we didn’t control our game. They pressed well and you don’t want to take too many risks at the back.”
New Erling Haaland transfer option emerges
Despite shutting him out, there is little doubting that Real Madrid would love to sign the striker if ever the opportunity arose.
They were very much in the running for him last summer when it became apparent he would be leaving Borussia Dortmund.
Ultimately, their reliance on legendary Frenchman Karim Benzema persuaded Haaland to seek a move to City instead.
Speculation over the Norwegian’s future, though, refuses to go away. And despite acting to remove his £175m release clause, Los Blancos continue to be linked with his signature.
However, it has since emerged that Haaland was the subject of more major interest last summer when leaving Dortmund.
And it’s emerged that Bayern Munich were in the running to controversially prise the striker across Germany.
Speaking to SportsBild, chief executive Oliver Kahn said they explored the possibility of signing the striker. However, fears over breaking their wages structure ultimately denied them that chance.
“We tried everything for Erling Haaland one year ago and went to our financial limits,” Kahn said.
“We had to decide: do we want to break our wage structure? We weren’t ready for that. That’s not Bayern-like.”
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