Erling Haaland compared to Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Pep Guardiola

·2 min read
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Pep Guardiola compared Erling Haaland to his hero Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the striker’s acrobatic winner for Manchester City against his former club Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland’s 13th goal in eight games was a head-high volley with the outside of his boot that Guardiola compared to one of the most famous Cruyff scored for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid.

He said: “The people who know me, maybe you know the influence Johan Cruyff had on my life as a person and a mentor and a manager and years ago Johan Cruyff scored an incredible goal in the Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid and the moment Erling scored I thought it was quite, quite similar.

“I thought: ‘Aah, like Johan Cruyff.’ It was an incredible assist by Joao [Cancelo]. The finishing from Erling was exceptional.”

Ibrahimovic played for Guardiola at Barcelona and was subsequently critical of the Catalan but while they parted on bad terms, the City manager sees similarities in Haaland, another tall striker.

He added: “I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic that had this ability to put the leg on the roof and Erling is quite similar in that. I think it is his nature: he is elastic, he is flexible and after has the ability to make the contact and put the ball in the net. I think his mum and dad give him that flexibility.”

The Dortmund defender Mats Hummels rued the ability of his former team-mate to find the net as the Bundesliga side, who had been 1-0 up, lost 2-1.

The German said: “We’re all behind the ball where we’re meant to be, but no-one closes the ball down and we let a cross reach Erling Haaland, who is just Erling Haaland. The frustration sits deep and will all night.”