Haaland lauded as being at par with Messi, Ronaldo

Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland scores their third goal with this overhead kick during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 8, 2023. AFP

SOUTHAMPTON: After scoring two goals on his return from injury in Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Southampton on Saturday, Erling Haaland has earned high praise from City manager Pep Guardiola. 

Comparing the Norwegian striker’s ability to find the net to that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Guardiola was impressed with Haaland’s performance.

Haaland’s second goal, an acrobatic volley from a cross by Jack Grealish, was particularly noteworthy. With his two goals, Haaland has now scored a total of 44 times in his debut season with the English champions, including an impressive 30 goals in just 27 Premier League appearances.

“The second goal was amazing. It is not easy to pick the ball up in the sky and put it on the grass,” Guardiola, who coached Messi during four years as Barcelona coach, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“As a top scorer we lived two incredible decades with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but he is on that level. He scores a lot of goals. I am very happy with 65 minutes after injury and he helped us again.”

Despite Haaland’s return, City struggled in the first half, but their performance picked up after the break, with Grealish also scoring a goal.

The win puts City within five points of league leaders Arsenal, while Southampton remain at the bottom of the table.

Guardiola is not thinking about City’s upcoming Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, but rather is focused on securing a treble of trophies.

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