Pep Guardiola makes ‘elastic’ Erling Haaland comparison with Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Johan Cruyff
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Haaland netted an audacious late winner against Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad, where he somehow managed to get his leg up to shoulder height to reach Joao Cancelo’s cross, before remarkably flicking the ball into the back of the net.
It wrapped up a 2-1 win for City against Haaland’s former employers, and ensured they moved three points clear of Group G in the Champions League.
It was a goal that drew rave reviews across social media, including from Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, and Guardiola revealed after the game it reminded him of a goal once scored by Barcelona and Ajax legend Cruyff.
“The people who know me know the influence Johan Cruyff had in my life, as a person, educator, manager, mentor and everything,” the Catalan explained.
“Johan Cruyff scored in the Camp Nou years and years ago, a goal against Atletico Madrid that was quite similar to the goal Erling Haaland scored. The moment he scored that goal I thought: ‘Johan Cruyff’. It was a really good one.”
Guardiola also drew comparisons between Haaland and another former Barcelona player: Ibrahimovic.
The now AC Milan forward had a similarly athletic and acrobatic quality to his play, with a memorable goal scored for Sweden against Italy at Euro 2004 an example of this tendency.
Guardiola and Ibrahimovic famously fell out during their time at the Nou Camp, but the City manager did acknowledge this particular qualities in his post-match press conference.
“The first impression I had [of the goal], I remember my dear friend [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic that has this ability to put the leg on the roof,” Guardiola said with tongue very much in cheek.
“Erling is quite similar like that. I think it is his nature. He’s elastic, he’s flexible; and after has the ability to make the contact and put it in the net. You see the contact is so big. I think his mum and dad give him this flexibility.”