Manchester City striker Erling Haaland lived last night one of his most special evenings at the Etihad. The Norwegian striker scored five goals in less than an hour into the game, setting the stage for the spectacular 7-0 win for the citizen team against Leipzig in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Shortly after signing the goalscorer, Pep Guardiola decided to put him on the bench, when there was still half an hour left in the game. After the game, Haaland himself confessed what he said to the Catalan coach when they crossed paths when he was substituted: "When he took me off I told him that I would have loved to score a double hat-trick." A sample of the Norwegian's great ambition, which he admitted without complexes in statements to BT Sports that scoring goals is his "superpower". "If I'm honest, I don't even remember the goals. Scoring goals is my superpower. I don't even think about many goals, I just do it. In the penalty he only thought about scoring, and so with each goal. I just have to be quick thinking,” he stated.
As soon as the match ended, Haaland spoke to CBS on the Etihad pitch in a relaxed atmosphere amid laughter and jokes. The Norwegian was happy with his five goals, but assured that he "could have scored more goals in the first half", before listing all the wasted chances. He also confessed that last year he watched City matches with envy, wishing he was the finisher of the crosses he watched on television. The forward is clear about his role in the Mancunian club: “This club has won four Premiers in five years before I arrived. They have not brought me to win the League, they know how to do it. You can read between the lines, they have signed me to improve the team and help it win the Champions League this year, ”he declared.
No player in the history of the Champions League has scored six goals in the same match. "If he achieves this milestone at the age of 22, his life will be boring, so now he will have a goal to do it in the future. That's why I have changed him," Guardiola joked. Haaland became the third player in history to score five goals in one match, equaling Luiz Adriano, who accomplished the feat in 2014 with Shakhtar Donetsk, and Lionel Messi, in 2012 with Barcelona, with Guardiola as manager.
"I didn't know with Messi when it was happening against Leverkusen, they told me in the first interview," Guardiola acknowledged. "But I made the substitution today because normally when the game ends, I want to let as many players play as possible," he explained.
Guardiola also acknowledged after the match that the Norwegian footballer's feat could have been even more legendary if he had not replaced him then: “He has scored five in almost sixty minutes. Maybe if he had played 90... Who knows... ”, he maintained before describing the duel against Leipzig as “exceptional”. “It was a great game from the first to the last minute. I liked everything. We have played very well, with the ball, without it. We have scored a lot of goals. It has been exceptional ”, he assessed.