Ex-Man City star counters Pep's monumental 'Messi-Ronaldo' remark on Haaland | Football News - Hindustan Times
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'Lewandowski has been the monster': Ex-Man City star counters Guardiola's monumental 'Messi-CR7' remark on Haaland

BySiddharth Thakur, New Delhi
Apr 12, 2023 08:24 AM IST

Haaland drove Man City to a 3-0 win over Bayern in Champions League quarters. Earlier, Man City boss Guardiola claimed that Haaland can rival Messi and Ronaldo.

Stamping his authority in the mouthwatering quarter-final 1st leg encounter of the UEFA Champions League between heavyweights Bayern Munich and Manchester City, superstar Erling Haaland recorded his first career win over the Bundesliga giants with the English Premier League holders at the Etihad on Wednesday. The former Borussia Dortmund forward netted his 45th goal of the season as Pep Guardiola's men romped past a clueless Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Man City boss Guardiola claimed that Haaland can rival Messi and Ronaldo(Reuters)
Man City boss Guardiola claimed that Haaland can rival Messi and Ronaldo(Reuters)

Blowing Haaland's trumpet in the lead-up to the blockbuster meeting between Man City and Bayern, veteran Spanish manager Guardiola had famously claimed that the young forward is on the same level as goal machines Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Often dubbed as two of the greatest players in the history of the beautiful game, Ronaldo and Messi have dominated world football for more than a decade.

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While former Ballon d'Or winners Messi and Ronaldo have netted more than 800 goals in their respective legendary careers, Haaland is the latest entrant in the 200-goal club. With Guardiola presenting his red-hot take on Haaland, former Premier League star David James advocated that Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski should have also received an honourable mention when Pep discussed the finest goalscorers of the beautiful game.

'Lewandowski historically has been the monster'

“That's a really good question. Is it too early? It's interesting he mentioned Messi and Ronaldo and he didn't mention Lewandowski. Because we talking about the Champions League, I'd actually argue that Lewandowski historically has been the monster. I think it was 60 goals last year or the season before in a calendar year. I did a study on Haaland and Lewandowski a little while back, and Mbappe was included. When you look at the goal spread - Haaland is a homer. The majority of his goals come at home. The hat-tricks he has scored, especially in the Premier League - 30 goals. What he is doing is phenomenal, don't get me wrong - this is not a criticism at all," James told Hindustan Times during a Champions League press conference.

Developing a knack for smashing records across all competitions, Haaland scored Man City's third goal against Bayern in the 76th minute to achieve a monumental feat in competitive football. The Norwegian forward holds the record for scoring the most goals (45) by a Premier League player in a single season. Riding on Haaland's record-setting strike, hosts Man City registered a memorable 3-0 win over Bayern in the 1st leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Etihad.

"It's just an interesting observation. Here Haaland at home, this guy would have the confidence to score a hat-trick. Take him away from home, he can score - I know he scored a couple away from home last weekend. But the point is, Lewandowski will score equally home and away consistently. Even this season, Haaland has scored in less Premier League games than Harry Kane. Kane scored 23 goals but he scored in more games than Haaland. So, in the sense for Haaland to be considered up there with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo or as I mentioned Lewandowski. Then he's gonna have to start changing his goal-scoring pattern, he has to start scoring home and away, hat-trick home and away - whatever it is. Which I think he is more than capable of doing,” James added.

An outright favourite for the Golden Boot this season, Man City forward Haaland has scored 34 goals in 26 UEFA Champions League games. Interestingly, former Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo didn't even open his Champions League goal account in his first 25 matches. The Manchester United icon and ex-Juventus star is the all-time goalscorer with 140 goals in Europe's biggest competition at the club level. Ronaldo is followed by Messi (129) and Lewandowski (91) on the exclusive Champions League list.

“As I said before, He's had 93 shots in the Premier League this season and he has scored 30 goals - that's one in three which is ridiculously good. If you could find improvements in a 23-year-old which I'm sure there are some, then I think in whether it's a year or two's time, we would then be saying, laying on these numbers are now stacking against the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. And we have got a new Ballon d'Or elect, someone at his age (providing no injuries) who will continue to break records season in and season out. I think it's a little bit early (Haaland on Ronaldo-Messi level) because he is very young. Let's not forget this is the guy who was 17 or 18 years old when he scored 9 goals for his national U-21 team. He is used to scoring goals, expect him to score goals. I can't wait to see him develop and become even better than he is at the moment,” the former Man City goalkeeper concluded.

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