By Habeeb Kuranga
Erling Haaland can reach 800 career goals if he continues his incredible scoring rate and stays fit – that’s according to his Manchester City teammate, Kevin De Bruyne.
Haaland, who has already notched 24 goals (18 in the EPL, 5 in the UCL and 1 in the Carabao cup) in 19 matches for the blue half of Manchester, has taken England by storm since his £51million move from Borussia Dortmund. He already has 224 goals for both club and country at the age of 22. De Bruyne, who has been pivotal to the form of Haaland with some number of assists this season, reckoned that the Norwegian could hit the same target as Messi and Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, who holds the all-time record for goals in men’s football, has notched 819 goals, while his rival Messi has plundered 791 goals. But De Bruyne is convinced Haaland can surpass their record if he continues at this phenomenal rate and stays fit in years ahead.
“It’s very hard to compare strikers because they are all totally different,” said De Bruyne. “They play in the same position, but some are physical players, some are speed demons, and they can all score goals for fun.
“Erling hasn’t because of his age, but they have all scored 300 or 400 goals. Erling is so obsessed with goals he can maybe go beyond that. He already has about 200 goals, so he can probably go to 600, 700 or 800 if he stays fit and does the things that he does.
“I don’t see Erling as different to a lot of people. He’s a normal football player like everybody else, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. When you talk about professional footballers or professional athletes, I think everybody has that little edge. I don’t think you can become a professional player if you don’t have that little something to become the best version you can be.
“He’s still a young boy enjoying his life, and he takes his football very seriously. He loves scoring goals, so I think that’s the most unique thing he has. Erling is a top-level striker. I don’t think it is fair to compare or rank strikers, because some are at the start of their careers, and some are at the end or the middle of their careers, so I don’t like to rank them,” he said.
However, many critics will definitely disagree with De bruyne citing Erling’s struggle to score or have an impact in games where his providers are not up to their best. Saying he is more of a traditional striker who only capitalises on balls in the 18-yard area. Thus, he can’t create and score goals all by himself – something both Messi and Ronaldo have been credited to have done on countless occasions.