Erling Haaland has labelled a Liverpool man as the world’s best in his position and says he’s relishing locking horns with him again during the next international break.
Haaland, 21, is already one of world football’s most prized assets. Since moving to Dortmund in 2020, the rangy hitman has operated at exactly one goal per game. He has begun the current season with a bang, notching five goals and three assists from his first three outings.
As such, it came as no surprise to see Haaland linked with Europe’s elite clubs over the summer. However, after already losing Jadon Sancho to Man Utd, Dortmund were doubly determined to retain their clinical striker.
And it seems Haaland appears is destined to remain at the Westfalenstadion until next summer at the earliest.
Now with the deadline set to close, the focus will soon switch to the international break. And there’s a great tie to get the fixtures going when Norway host the Netherlands in their World Cup qualifier.
The game will see Virgil van Dijk facing Haaland for the third time in their careers. Having previously met when RB Salzburg faced Liverpool in the Champions League, Haaland knows he’s in for a tough night.
“I think he is the best defender,” he told reporters, via TV2. “I think quite a few others in the room agree with me on that.
“He is fast, strong and f****** smart, and those are three important things you must have.
“I have played against him twice and he is the best I have met. He is a good player, so we have to try to play around him.”
In response, VG quote Van Dijk as saying: “Did he say that? That was kind of him.”
Liverpool on pole position for Haaland
With Manchester United signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Chelsea landing Romelu Lukaku, the pair’s interest in Haaland will surely now cool.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, appear focused on signing Kylian Mbappe, though that looks on hold until next summer.
And that could well leave Liverpool with a clearer path to sign Haaland next summer when his £63.9m exit clause kicks in.
Asked about Mbappe and Haaland being successors to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Rummenigge, the brother of Bayern president Karl-Heinz, told Sport1 about the latter’s likely next move.
“Yes. They [Haaland and Mbappe] could get there [the world’s top stars]. We’ll have to wait and see where he goes after this season,” Rummenigge said of Haaland, as cited by Sport Witness.
“Real and Barca have financial problems so I could imagine him moving to England. His father used to play there too. I could well imagine Liverpool for Haaland.”
Having witnessed at close hand his abilities, he’s challenged the player to improve one aspect of his play.
“Haaland is an exceptional phenomenon. There is a player like that every 30 or 40 years. I don’t know what his career plans are, but for Dortmund it’s great that he’s still wearing the black and yellow jersey this season,” he explained.
“He is an absolute goal machine, his opponents only fly away to the right and left when he starts running. I’ve never seen anything like him at that age.
“The only drawback in his size is his headers. He doesn’t score enough goals. Otherwise, Haaland is a perfect player.”