Erling Haaland continued his magnificent scoring spree in the UEFA Champions League as he scored five goals against Red Bull Leipzig before being substituted by Pep Guardiola. The Norwegian scored five goals in 57 minutes and was set to break the record for most goals in a Champions League match (5) set by Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano. However, Guardiola subbed off Haaland in the 62nd minute.
Fans are claiming that the Spanish manager subbed Haaland with the wrong intentions. They believe the substitution happened to stop Haaland from breaking Messi’s record. One fan commented, “Pep Guardiola, Messi’s undercover agent, takes Haaland off so he doesn’t break Messi’s record.”
Pep Guardiola, Messi's undercover agent, takes Haaland off so he doesn't break Messi's record. 😅😅
— The Pep (@GuardiolaTweets) March 14, 2023
Many other fans believed this theory and blamed Guardiola for not letting Haaland break the record.
Pep Guardiola: Greatest Messi fan of all time. pic.twitter.com/UfMdY67XG2
— Semper Fí 🥇 (@SemperFiMessi) March 14, 2023
Pep Guardiola subbing Erling Haaland off to preserve Messi’s historical record in the UCL of 5 goals in a single game
— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) March 14, 2023
This man here blocked Erling Haaland chance of becoming the player with most UCL goals in a single match because of Messi. Pep Guardiola will never win the UCL again!!! 💔💔🥺 pic.twitter.com/L0TSvc8IPQ
— Alpha SarkCess (@AlphaSarkces) March 14, 2023
After drawing 1-1 in the first leg, Manchester City cruised past Leipzig in a 7-0 win at the Etihad Stadium. Haaland opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after he scored a penalty. Just two minutes later, the Norwegian was back at it with another goal. With this goal, his 30th, Haaland became the youngest player to score 30 Champions League goals.
The current Premier League top scorer completed his hat trick just at the stroke of halftime. City went into the break with a 3-0 lead and almost guaranteed their qualification to the UCL quarters. However, City and Haaland were not done. Ilkay Gundogan scored in the 49th minute. And Haaland scored two more in the 53rd and 57th minute to equal the record of the most goals scored in a UCL match.
With around half an hour still remaining in the game, Haaland was substituted for Julian Alvarez. Kevin de Bruyne scored the final goal.
Pep Guardiola reveals why he subbed Erling Haaland after scoring 5 goals
After that match, Haaland explained his desire to Guardiola, however, he could not do much about it.
“I told him (Guardiola) I would love to score a double hat-trick but what can I do?” Haaland said.
“I’m blurry in my head. I remember shooting but not thinking,” he added.
Guardiola was all praise for his big Norwegian after the performance. He said on Haaland’s night. “He has a huge competitor mentality, he’s there and yeah, scored five goals which is not easy.”
“Substituting Haaaland out when he had the chance of breaking Messi’s CL record of 5 goals in a CL game? If he had scored six goals at the age of 22, he would have been bored in the future”#UCL pic.twitter.com/Qi3zexGZiM
— PSG Chief (@psg_chief) March 15, 2023
Apparently, Guardiola was in a very jovial mood at the post-match press conference. Why wouldn’t he be after his team scored seven? He was asked about Haaland’s six-goal record-breaking venture and why he played spoilsport by subbing him off. Guardiola said, “if he [Haaland] achieves this milestone at 22, his life would be boring. Now he has a target to do it in the future.”
City joins Inter Milan, AC Milan, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Benfica in the quarter-finals of the UCL. Two more teams out of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Napoli, and Eintracht Frankfurt will complete the last eight.