Pep Guardiola's comments on Erling Haaland that saw him become 'dressing room burden'

Erling Haaland’ last few months at Dortmund were affected by comments Pep Guardiola made (Image: AFP)

Erling Haaland was labelled a ‘dressing room burden’ during his last few months at Dortmund, particularly after Pep Guardiola hinted at signing him. The Norwegian goal machine was constantly making headlines towards the end of the 2021/22 season, leading to tension in the BVB dressing room.

After netting an impressive 86 goals in 89 games over two-and-a-half years at Westfalenstadion, the world’s most prominent clubs were lining up to sign him due to his release clause standing at a mere £51million.

Manchester City ultimately win the race for his signature in May 2022 after a carefully orchestrated charm offensive which began nearly a year earlier when Guardiola publicly complimented the striker.

Back in June 2021, the Spanish manager told the press that Haaland was among the best in the world. “The numbers speak for themselves,” Guardiola declared. “Of course, he’s one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age… I know the quality of this player and I think everyone knows.”

A few weeks after Haaland’s departure, Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl stated that the buzz surrounding the superstar forward had become bothersome both internally and externally. He even suggested that the club were relieved to be rid of him.

Haaland became a burden on the Dortmund dressing room during his final season there (Image: REUTERS)

“As much as we have always appreciated Erling and the success he has had with our shirt, in the end, the matter had definitely become a burden, both in the dressing room and for the club,” he told German outlet Bild. “In general, for the whole environment, it was just him. The timing of the sale was right, both for us and for City.”

Haaland’s first season at the Etihad Stadium saw him net an astonishing 52 goals, aiding Guardiola’s squad in clinching an unprecedented Treble. The following season, the former Molde striker helped the club secure their fourth consecutive Premier League title, contributing 38 goals across all competitions.

Meanwhile, Dortmund have managed to hold their own since Haaland’s departure. They ended the 2022/23 season neck-and-neck with Bayern Munich, narrowly missing out on the Bundesliga title due to goal difference.

Their domestic performance took a hit last season, culminating in a disappointing fifth-place finish. However, Edin Terzic’s men did manage to reach the Champions League final, where they were defeated 2-0 by Real Madrid.