Spanish coach Josep Guardiola, coach of Manchester City, the English Premier League champion, considered that comparing his team’s top scorer Erling Haaland with Argentine world champion Lionel Messi is harmful to the young Norwegian player.
Haaland (22 years) is performing at a great level with City, and he needs a goal to set the record for the largest number of goals in one season within the Premier League, with its system in place since 1992.
By scoring against Fulham last Sunday (2-1), Haaland raised his tally to 34 goals this season, equal to the joint record between Alan Shearer (1995 with Blackburn) and Andy Cole (1994 with Newcastle United).
While Haaland raised his tally to 50 goals in various competitions this season, some compared his achievement to what Messi achieved in the 2012 season with Barcelona when he scored 73 goals under Guardiola’s supervision.
But Guardiola pulled the plug on the comparisons, saying, “Nobody compares to Messi. It won’t help Erling. Messi is the most perfect player I’ve ever seen in terms of vision, dribbling, passing, competitiveness, among many difficult things.”
Guardiola, who coached Messi, the best player in the world seven times, added, “I hope Erling gets close to Leo, it would be great for him and for us, but I don’t help anyone compare them.”
Haaland still has many matches to enhance his scoring tally, as his team has 6 league matches left, at least two matches in the Champions League, where it will meet Real Madrid in the semi-finals, and it will meet its arch-neighbor Manchester United in the final of the local cup in early June.
On Haaland’s steady success in his first season in England after coming from Borussia Dortmund, Guardiola expressed his surprise at the Norwegian’s efficiency. West Ham faces its guest and tries to regain the lead from Arsenal on Wednesday.
And the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach continued, “Of course, it is important for him and the team to break records. This is a good sign. The importance of the number is due to not breaking it for a long time. All numbers will be broken one day.”
Pep believes that Halland’s second season may be better than the current one. “I think he has the desire to develop. I know him a little bit and he is competitive and positive in his mentality. He has this wonderful self-confidence. It is not arrogant.”