Pep Guardiola makes Erling Haaland claim after Man City striker hits 30 Premier League goals
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Pep Guardiola has compared Erling Haaland to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after the Manchester City striker scored his 30th goal of the Premier League season.
Everybody knew the calibre of striker City were getting when they signed Haaland from Borussia Dortmund last summer, but few predicted that he would adapt to life in the Premier League with such ease.
While there have been a handful of games in which City's stars and the 22-year-old have struggled to link up, he certainly hasn't struggled in terms of putting the ball in the back of the net.
Haaland opened the scoring in City's 4-1 defeat of Southampton on Saturday when he headed home from Kevin de Bruyne's cross, before he took his tally for the campaign to 30 with a stunning second-half scissor kick.
The striker is well on course to smash the single-season Premier League goals record of 34, currently held by Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer.
It will be a huge achievement to break a record held by two legendary players, but after the match, City boss Pep Guardiola went a step further by comparing Haaland to two of the greatest footballers to ever play the game.
"We have lived with [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] for two incredible decades - and now Haaland is on that level," Guardiola said.
"You see how many games Erling has played during his professional career and you compare the goals he has scored in that time to Messi and Cristiano, it’s quite similar.
"I think Messi is a more complete player. The other two, Cristiano and Haaland, are like machines.
"But Erling knows the other two guys have dominated for two decades, not just one year. They have scored goals, won titles and done absolutely everything.
"Erling is just 22 years old and he is doing it in the toughest league in the world. I can talk because I’ve been in other leagues. Doing what he is doing is remarkable.
"To reach the level of Cristiano and Messi takes a lot of work. But Erling puts pressure on himself like Messi and Ronaldo.
"When he doesn’t score two or three goals he says ‘what’s the problem, what’s the problem?' The numbers he has at his age are unbelievable."
City have now won eight matches on the bounce, and have taken maximum points from their last five Premier League outings.
If they want to retain their Premier League crown then they will have to keep up that form, as Arsenal currently hold a five-point lead at the top of the table.