A ticket for FIFA to watch Manchester City is currently the hottest in town. That’s due to one thing: the exceptional, record-breaking form of Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian striker has scored 20 goals in 13 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund for what now looks like a bargain £51 million. When he scored against Southampton in his team’s eighth Premier League game of the season, Haaland became the fastest player to score 15 high-flying goals.
And if he continues to score at his current rate, Erling Haaland could break Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 260 – in just five years.
Naturally, soccer commentators, pundits and fans are already talking about the 22-year-old’s potential to be the best ever, although he has a long way to go before he reaches that stratospheric level. He has yet to win a major trophy for one thing.
FIFA RANKINGS: 5 strikers whose records Haaland will envy
That said, it is clear that the player is ambitious and will undoubtedly aim to become an icon. So, which striker luminaries should he emulate?
In this FIFA ranking article, Halowin Bet selects five strikers from the last 20 years whose records Haaland will chase. Only time will tell if the giant forward can match their astonishing numbers…
FIFA RANKING #5: Robert Lewandowski
The Polish number nine did not leave Bayern Munich on good terms last summer. But given what he has achieved, he certainly deserves the respect of the Bavarian club’s fans.
Lewandowski scored 344 goals in 374 appearances in seven seasons with the German giants. 238 of them came in the Bundesliga, while another 69 were scored in the UEFA Champions League.
The record that Haaland will aim for is Lewy’s league goal tally in a single season. In 2020-21, the prolific marksman scored 41 Bundesliga goals, breaking the long-standing record of the great Gerd Muller. “Der Bomber” scored 40 during a sensational campaign in the 1971-72 season, just as the German legend was at the height of his powers.
Lewandowski’s incredible goal-scoring ability continued at Barcelona, where he scored 14 goals in his first 12 La Liga and UEFA Champions League games. No wonder he is so revered in Warsaw.
Halowin Bet Prediction: The smart money is on Lewandowski to top the La Liga scoring charts this season.
FIFA RANKINGS #4: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swede talks a lot about himself, often in the third person. But he has earned the right, with a brilliant career that has continued into his 40s.
First, there is his style of play. Like Haaland, Zlatan is massive – six feet five inches tall – and his physical presence terrifies defenders. He’s also incredibly athletic, famous for his acrobatic volleys and unparalleled technique. For proof, look at the extraordinary 35-year-old bicycle kick he scored against England in 2013.
He also has an enviable goal-scoring record, having scored 62 times in 121 appearances for his national team and scored 492 times in 815 professional club games. He has scored in each of the last four decades. Undeniably a heavyweight.
But it’s Zlatan’s trophy cabinet that Haaland will envy the most. The legend has won 34 major honors in his career, including league titles in the Netherlands (twice), Italy (seven times), Spain and France (twice). Truly one of the world’s greatest strikers.
Halowin Bet Prediction: Zlatan is currently on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery. He may be in his 40s, but don’t bet against him making a comeback and scoring for AC Milan this season.
FIFA RANKINGS #3: Ronaldo
If there’s one man who knows a thing or two about great strikers, it’s Alessandro Nesta.
The former AC Milan defender has played against some of the best strikers in history during his stellar career. Last week he gave his verdict on Haaland and revealed the striker he considers the greatest of them all, Brazil’s Ronaldo.
“Haaland is very good, but Ronaldo was something different,” he said.
“I played against Messi, against Cristiano, but the Brazilian Ronaldo, for me, was different.”
“He was the toughest striker I’ve ever faced. It was impossible to stop him. The worst experience I ever had was playing against Ronaldo when we played Inter in the 1998 UEFA Cup final in Paris.
“He is an incredible player. I’ve watched that game on video so many times since then, trying to understand what I did wrong. We lost 3-0, but I don’t think it was my fault. Ronaldo was just unstoppable. He’s so fast that he makes everyone look like they’re standing still.
Praise for a World Cup-winning defender widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
Ronaldo’s statistics go to some extent towards saving; the Brazilian scored over 350 goals at club level as well as 62 in just 98 games for his national team. He will always be remembered for pulling the Selecao to glory at the 2002 World Cup – and that winner’s medal is something Haaland will probably never get their hands on in Norway.
Halowin Bet Prediction: Will Ronaldo’s Brazil win the World Cup this year? They have an incredibly strong chance.
FIFA RANKINGS #2: Cristiano Ronaldo
When Ronaldo was Haaland’s age, 22, it was in the early 2000s and he played for Manchester United. At that time, the Portuguese ace had a very respectable 82 goals to his credit. At the moment, the Norwegian superstar leads with 155.
However, in his mid to late 20s, Ronaldo took his goals to outrageous levels, scoring over 50 frankly absurd goals in six consecutive seasons between the ages of 25 and 30. That means Haaland needs to improve his goal rate to beat CR7. by the time the Norwegian reaches 37.
And of course, there is the small matter of Ronaldo’s five Ballon d’Or awards, seven league titles in three major European countries and five Champions League trophies.
Halowin Bet prediction: Haaland will almost certainly surpass Ronaldo this season – and all other strikers in Europe.
FIFA RANKINGS #1: Lionel Messi
Messi’s record is just as spectacular as Cristiano’s, which is why the “who’s better” debate will continue for many years.
The Argentine ace has scored 781 goals (and counting) for club and country, won 11 leagues and four Champions League titles, and holds a whopping 47 world records.
But Messi is more than just statistics. His skills are otherworldly and were perhaps best summed up by former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.
“Messi can take you to a place where you can’t really believe what you see,” Carragher told Sky Sports. “What Ronaldo does is what other players can do, Messi can do things you’ve never seen before.”
Erling Haaland is an incredible talent, but he has a very long way to go to match Messi.
Halowin Bet prediction: Could this be the year that Messi’s PSG finally wins the UEFA Champions League? They have as good a chance as any of the European big guns.
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