Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland
Full name: Erling Braut Haaland
Birth name: Erling Braut Håland
Date of birth: 21 July 2000
Place of birth: Leeds, England
Height: 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)
Nationality: British, Norwegian
Parents: Alf-Inge Håland, Gry Marita Braut
Position(s): Striker
Club information
Current team: Borussia Dortmund
Number: 9

Erling Braut Haaland (born 21 July 2000) is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as a striker for German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and the Norway national team. A prolific goalscorer, Haaland is recognised for his pace, athleticism and finishing ability. He is considered one of the best strikers in world football.

Haaland started his career at his hometown club Bryne in 2016, and moved to Molde the following year; he spent two seasons with the club before signing with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in January 2019. At Salzburg, he won two Austrian Bundesliga titles and one Austrian Cup. Haaland became the first teenager to score in five consecutive UEFA Champions League matches during the 2019–20 season. In December 2019, he completed a transfer to Borussia Dortmund for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million. Haaland also won the 2020 Golden Boy award. In 2020–21, he was integral in Dortmund's DFB-Pokal win, won the Bundesliga Player of the Season award and finished as the top scorer of the Champions League.

Haaland represented Norway at various youth levels. In the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Haaland won the tournament's Golden Boot, after scoring a record nine goals in a single match. He made his senior international debut in September 2019.

Early life
Haaland was born on 21 July 2000 in Leeds, England, as his father Alf-Inge Håland was playing for Leeds United in the Premier League at the time. In 2004, at the age of three, he moved to Bryne, his parents' hometown in Norway. Along with playing football from an early age, Haaland partook in various other sports as a child, including handball, golf, and track and field. He also reportedly achieved a world record in his age category for the standing long jump when he was five, with a recorded distance of 1.63 metres in 2006.

Club career

"I saw Erling for the first time when he was five when he joined indoor training with a group one year older ... His first two touches led to goals. He was very, very good from the first moment, even though he hadn't played in the club before. He started playing in his own year group, but because he was so much better than the others, we immediately pulled him up to Under-6."
— Alf Ingve Berntsen on Haaland as a child

Haaland started in the academy of his hometown club Bryne FK at the age of five. During the 2015–16 season, Haaland played for Bryne's reserve team and impressed, scoring eighteen goals in fourteen matches. In May 2016, Gaute Larsen was sacked as Bryne manager and youth coach Berntsen was promoted to caretaker boss. Having worked closely with Haaland in other youth teams, the interim manager handed the teenager his first start, three months before his sixteenth birthday. His debut was a second-tier 1. divisjon match against Ranheim on 12 May 2016.

After having initially being deployed as a winger, Berntsen put Haaland in his favoured central role as a striker after a few matches. Although he failed to score in his breakthrough season at Bryne, Haaland was offered a trial by German club 1899 Hoffenheim before eventually moving to Molde FK to play under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Haaland made sixteen total senior appearances for Bryne.

On 1 February 2017, Molde announced the signing of 16-year-old Haaland. He made his debut for the club on 26 April in a Norwegian Cup match against Volda TI, scoring on his debut in a 3–2 win. Haaland's debut in the Eliteserien came on 4 June, being brought on as a 71st minute substitute against Sarpsborg 08. After receiving a yellow card in just over a minute of play on the pitch, Haaland scored the winner for Molde in the 77th minute, his first goal in the league. His second strike of the season came on 17 September, as he bagged the decisive goal against Viking FK in a 3–2 victory. In the aftermath of the game, Haaland received criticism from teammate Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson for celebrating his goal towards Viking supporters. Haaland finished his first season at Molde with four goals in twenty appearances.

On 1 July 2018, Haaland scored four goals in the opening 21 minutes against SK Brann, securing his side a 4–0 victory over the unbeaten league leaders at the time. After the match, Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær compared Haaland's style of play to Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, and said the club had rejected several bids for the striker from different clubs. In the following match a week later, Haaland continued his scoring run with a brace against Vålerenga in a 5–1 win. He scored his first goal in UEFA competition on 26 July, converting a penalty in Molde's 3–0 Europa League qualifying victory against KF Laçi. Due to a sprained ankle, Haaland did not participate in Molde's last three league matches of the season. For his performances in the 2018 Eliteserien, Haaland received the Eliteserien Breakthrough of the Year award. He finished the 2018 season as Molde's top goalscorer, scoring sixteen goals in thirty matches across all competitions.

Red Bull Salzburg
On 19 August 2018, Austrian Bundesliga champions Red Bull Salzburg announced that Haaland would join the club on 1 January 2019, signing a five-year contract. On 19 July, he scored his first hat-trick for the club in a 7–1 Austrian Cup win against SC-ESV Parndorf, and followed this up with his first hat-trick in the league on 10 August, scoring three in a 5–2 victory against Wolfsberger AC. He got a third hat-trick for Salzburg on 14 September in a 7–2 victory over TSV Hartberg; this was the sixth consecutive league game Haaland had scored in, with eleven total goals during this timeframe. Three days later, Haaland made his debut in the UEFA Champions League against Genk, where he scored three goals in the first half of an eventual 6–2 victory, his fourth overall hat-trick for Salzburg.

In his next two matches of the Champions League season, Haaland recorded a goal against Liverpool at Anfield and a further two against Napoli, becoming only the second teenager after Karim Benzema in the history of the competition to score in each of his first three appearances. His six goals were also the most scored by any player in their first three Champions League matches. After converting a penalty in Salzburg's reverse fixture against Napoli, Haaland became the first teenager to score in his first four matches in the competition, and only the fourth player of any age to achieve this feat, following Zé Carlos, Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Costa. He then scored all three goals in Salbzurg's 3–0 victory at Wolfsberger AC on 10 November, recording his fifth hat-trick of the season and his second against Wolfsberg.

On 27 November, Haaland came off the bench to score another goal against Genk, joining Del Piero, Serhii Rebrov, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski as the only players to score in the first five matches of a Champions League group stage, and becoming the first teenager to score in five consecutive matches in the competition. However, he would fail to find the net in Salzburg's final group match against Liverpool, as his side lost 2–0 and were eliminated from the competition. This would prove to be Haaland's final game for the club; he departed Salzburg having recorded 29 goals, with 28 of these coming in only 22 appearances made during the 2019–20 season.

Borussia Dortmund
Despite being a reported target of Manchester United and Juventus, German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund confirmed the signing of Haaland on 29 December 2019, three days before the winter transfer window opened, for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million, signing a four-and-a-half-year contract.

2019–20 season
Haaland made his debut for Dortmund away at FC Augsburg on 18 January 2020, coming on as a second-half substitute and scoring a hat-trick within 23 minutes in a 5–3 win. This made him only the second player in Dortmund history after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score three goals on their Bundesliga debut. Six days later, Haaland once again came off the bench, making his second club appearance in Dortmund's match against local rivals 1. FC Köln. He scored after twelve minutes and got a second goal ten minutes later, helping his side to a 5–1 victory. Haaland became the first Bundesliga player to score five goals in his opening two matches, as well as the fastest player to reach that tally (56 minutes played). Despite being on the pitch in the league for only an hour, he won January's Bundesliga Player of the Month award. Haaland got a brace against Union Berlin on 1 February, becoming the first player in history to score seven goals in their first three Bundesliga games.

On 18 February, Haaland scored both Dortmund goals in their 2–1 first leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16. This brought the Norwegian teenager's total to ten Champions League goals for the 2019–20 campaign in only his eighth overall appearance in the competition, adding to the eight he had scored for Salzburg in the group stage. Dortmund would lose 2–0 in the return leg on 11 March however, as Haaland saw elimination from the competition for a second time in the same season. Following the Bundesliga's return on 16 May in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Haaland scored Dortmund's opener of their 4–0 Revierderby win over Schalke 04, his tenth goal of the Bundesliga season. On 20 June, he scored both goals in a 2–0 win against RB Leipzig to secure second place for Dortmund, which would lead to Champions League football in the following season. Haaland concluded his 2019–20 campaign with 44 goals in 40 club appearances across all competitions played for both Salzburg and Dortmund.

2020–21 season
On 19 September 2020, in Dortmund's first match of the new season, Haaland scored a brace in a 3–0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. He scored his side's equalizer in their 2–3 Der Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup on 30 September, and again found the net against Bayern when the sides met in the league on 7 November, with Dortmund losing 2–3 once more. On 21 November, Haaland scored four goals in 32 minutes of a 5–2 away victory against Hertha BSC. These five goals in November saw him crowned the Bundesliga Player of the Month for a second time. Haaland continued his goalscoring feats in the Champions League, scoring six times in the first four matches of the 2020–21 group stage, with his brace in a 3–0 win over Club Brugge on 24 November making him the fastest player to record fifteen (and then sixteen) Champions League goals; he had reached this benchmark with only twelve appearances in the competition. Hours before Dortmund's fifth group match against Lazio on 2 December, however, the club announced that Haaland had suffered a hamstring injury, which would keep him out of action until after the new year.

He made his return to the side in their match against VfL Wolfsburg on 3 January 2021. He scored a brace away against RB Leipzig in a 3–1 win on 9 January, and got another two goals in Dortmund's 2–4 defeat to Mönchengladbach on 22 January. On 17 February, Haaland scored two goals and got an assist in Dortmund's 3–2 away victory against Sevilla in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. In Dortmund's Bundesliga reverse fixture against Bayern at the Allianz Arena on 6 March, Haaland scored twice within the opening ten minutes to give his side a 2–0 lead. However, he would be substituted off in the second half after picking up a knock, as Bayern rallied to win the match 4–2. Haaland's second goal was the 100th of his senior career, reaching this milestone in only 146 appearances.

Haaland would score another brace against Sevilla in Dortmund's second leg match on 9 March, as his side drew 2–2 and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League 5–4 on aggregate. With only fourteen matches played, this made him both the fastest and youngest player to reach twenty goals in the competition, also becoming the first player to score multiple times in four consecutive Champions League appearances. After missing two matches due to deep bruising, Haaland returned to Dortmund's starting lineup on 13 May for the 2021 DFB-Pokal Final; he scored a brace in his side's 4–1 win over Leipzig, thus securing his first title with the club. He ended the season with 41 goals in all competitions, including 27 in the league, which won him the fan-voted Bundesliga Player of the Season award, and finished the season as the top scorer of the Champions League with ten goals, later being awarded the competition's best forward of the season.

2021–22 season
Haaland started off the 2021–22 season with a hat-trick over Wehen Wiesbaden in the first round of the DFB-Pokal on 7 August 2021. A week later, on matchday one of the Bundesliga, he scored a brace and assisted two goals as Dortmund beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5–2. During the first months of the season, Haaland was sidelined with a hamstring injury, returning on 16 October and scoring a brace against Mainz in a 3–1 victory. Shortly after, Haaland suffered a hip flexor injury, which sidelined him for two months. He made his return on 27 November, scoring his 50th Bundesliga goal in a 3–1 victory over Wolfsburg, setting a new record for the fewest appearances and also became the youngest player to score 50 league goals.

International career
Haaland plays for Norway, and has represented them at various age groups. On 27 March 2018, while with the Norway under-19 side, Haaland scored a hat-trick against Scotland in a 5–4 victory, helping his country secure qualification to the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. On 22 July 2018, Haaland scored a penalty against Italy in a 1–1 draw during the tournament finals. On 30 May 2019, Haaland scored nine goals in the Norway under-20 team's 12–0 win against Honduras at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Lublin, Poland. This was Norway's biggest ever win at U-20 level, as well as Honduras' heaviest ever defeat. Haaland also set a new U-20 World Cup record for most goals scored by a single player in a match, with the result additionally being the biggest win by any team in the history of the tournament. Despite the Norwegians being eliminated in the group stage, and Haaland not scoring in any other matches at the tournament, he still won the Golden Boot as the competition's top scorer.

Haaland was named by manager Lars Lagerbäck to the Norway senior team squad on 28 August 2019, to face Malta and Sweden in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches; he made his senior national team debut on 5 September 2019 against Malta. On 4 September 2020, Haaland scored his first senior international goal for Norway in a 1–2 loss against Austria in the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B. Three days later, he scored a brace in a 5–1 victory against Northern Ireland. On 11 October, Haaland scored his first international hat-trick in Norway's 4–0 win over Romania in a Nations League B match, bringing his tally for the senior team to six goals in six matches played.

During the September 2021 international break, Haaland scored five goals in three World Cup qualification matches, including a second hat-trick for Norway in a 5–1 victory against Gibraltar.

Personal life
Haaland is the son of the Norwegian former Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Manchester City defender Alf-Inge Håland, and former women's heptathlon athlete Gry Marita Braut. His cousin Jonatan Braut Brunes plays as a forward for Lillestrøm. Brunes became the youngest player ever to feature for Bryne in a game against KFUM Oslo on 16 May 2016 at the age of 15 years, 9 months, 9 days, beating the previous record set by Haaland four days earlier. His younger cousin Albert Tjåland is also a footballer, registering over sixty goals in under forty games played with Molde's youth team. In February 2017, in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Haaland stated that "The dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds." On 30 August 2016, the music video "Kygo Jo" was uploaded to YouTube by Flow Kingz, a group consisting of Haaland and his Norway U-18 teammates Erik Botheim and Erik Tobias Sandberg. By 2020, the video had surpassed 8.2 million views and 250 thousand likes.

Haaland has stated he enjoys meditation. After scoring his second goal in Dortmund's first leg Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain in February 2020, he celebrated by mimicking a "zen" pose in reference to his meditative practice. However, Dortmund would go on to lose and be eliminated after the second leg, with PSG scorer Neymar imitating Haaland's celebration after his goal, and the majority of the French club's squad joining in on mimicking the "zen" pose in their celebrations following the conclusion of the match. This was reportedly done as a dig to Haaland due to an alleged social media post he had made prior to the game, in which he called host venue Paris "his city". Despite some sources proposing that Haaland's post had been fake, he still said that he was not bothered by the PSG celebrations, stating: "I think they helped me a lot to get meditation out in the world and to show the whole world that meditation is an important thing so I'm thankful".

Haaland cites Jamie Vardy and Robin van Persie as inspirations, and credits Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos as two of the toughest defenders he has played against.

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