Erling Haaland, the Manchester City striker, recently shared his perspective on the attribute he admires most in his Ballon d’Or competitor, Lionel Messi, during an interview with L’Equipe.
In the interview, Haaland was posed with the question, “If you could choose one quality from another player, what would it be and from whom?” The Norwegian striker’s response was candid: “I wish I had Messi’s dribbling. It’s quite a good choice, isn’t it? (laughs)”
Haaland engaged in this conversation as part of his interview with the French newspaper, conducted in anticipation of the upcoming Ballon d’Or award ceremony, where he stands as one of the top contenders, alongside Lionel Messi.
• “If you could take one quality from another player, what would it be and who?”
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) September 9, 2023
Last season, at the club level, Haaland’s achievements have been remarkable, notably leading Manchester City to their first-ever treble with an impressive record of 52 goals and nine assists in 53 games across all competitions.
It’s worth noting that Haaland would have been an even stronger candidate for the Ballon d’Or had it not been for Lionel Messi’s unforgettable performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which led Argentina to the World Cup title with Messi winning the Golden Ball award at the tournament for being the best player in the tournament.
A victory in the upcoming Ballon d’Or ceremony would mark Erling Haaland’s first, while Lionel Messi boasts a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, establishing him as an all-time record holder.
The 2023 Ballon d’Or will be the 67th edition of the renowned ceremony, presented by France Football magazine. The event is scheduled for October 30, 2023, and will take place at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Erling Haaland on his relationship with Pep Guardiola
In his interview, Erling Haaland also delved into his dynamic relationship with Guardiola, describing it as “brutal” but instrumental in their collective success during the previous season.
Haaland emphasized, “Pep demands a lot from you. You can’t afford to become complacent under such a demanding coach. That’s his management style. Nonetheless, to foster growth and advancement, confronting unfiltered truths in a direct manner is often the most effective approach. We can say it, sometimes it’s brutal.”
Haaland expressed his appreciation for Guardiola’s demanding nature, viewing it as a sign of the manager’s deep involvement and passion. He acknowledged that the experience might not always be pleasant but affirmed its ability to expose players to their own strengths and weaknesses, ultimately propelling them toward improvement.
Erling Haaland’s answer when asked who’s scarier: Pep Guardiola or his father Alfie 😂 pic.twitter.com/JbQ5GJyHNS
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 31, 2023
Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, has received accolades for his effective integration of Erling Haaland into the team’s possession-based playing style, a system that traditionally did not rely on a tall, imposing central striker.
Pep Guardiola’s tenure at Manchester City, which began in 2016, has yielded an impressive tally of 15 major trophies for the club. His current contract with Manchester City extends until 2025, but there have been murmurs about his potential transition to international management, given his continuous involvement in club management since 2008.
While the prospect of Guardiola’s departure for international management may be disheartening for Manchester City fans, they can still look forward to two more years of his magic at the helm, alongside the formidable Norwegian powerhouse, Erling Haaland.