Speaking to the media after Manchester City’s thumping 6-3 win over Manchester United in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola hailed hat-trick hero Erling Haaland and compared the Norwegian to another of his former protege Lionel Messi.
Messi was one of the chief driving forces in Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona that laid waste to opposition relentlessly. And in Haaland, the Catalan tactician seems to have found another weapon of mass destruction as witnessed by the 22-year-old’s form this season.
Indeed, just 11 matches into his spell at Man City, Haaland has already plundered 17 goals across all competitions, that includes three Premier League hat-tricks, with the one against United on Sunday being the latest and perhaps the sweetest.
After the game, Guardiola was asked if he expected Haaland to score in each game like he once did with Messi during their time at Barcelona.
In response, the Manchester City manager replied (h/t SPORT): “Yes, the difference is that Haaland needs all his teammates, Messi did it alone.”
Guardiola has always maintained that he thinks Messi is the greatest player of all time and once again he has underlined that stance with his latest statements.
Having left Barcelona last year, Messi could return to Spotify Camp Nou next summer when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires. There has been interest from MLS while PSG remain keen on extending his contract.
But, Barça are also working hard behind the scenes to bring their former captain back to the club for one last dance.
As for Haaland, the 22-year-old, who had been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, among others, in the summer, is taking the Premier League by storm.
And even though he has joined recently, Manchester City wish to renew his contract at the earliest possible so as to stave off the interest from Real Madrid.