Erling Haaland, the diamond that came from cold Norway. His scoring ability, his speed and his youth make him, with permission from Kylian Mbappé, in one of the great wishes for any soccer team with potential.
Behind a curious career that took him from the humble Bryne to the present Borussia Dortmund there is a different footballer, far from the great luxuries and clichés. Somewhat introverted, without much fondness for social networks or spending time partying, with his feet very on the ground, there are five details from his biography that explain why we are facing a different player also off the pitch.
Although proudly wearing his Norwegian nationality, Haaland could have been perfectly English. He was born in Leeds, where his father, Alf-Inge, played. Hard central (and sometimes defensive midfielder), Alf-Inge Haaland was a middle-class player in several Premier teams (Nottingham forest, Leeds Y Manchester City) in the 90s and his career was marked by the historical Roy keane.
In 1997, the father of the current Dortmund striker seriously injured the Irishman in a Leeds-Manchester United, to the point that a good part of the season was lost. The Norwegian accused him of pretending.
When years later, when Haaland was already in the City, Keane returned it to him and smashed his knee. Since then, he has only been able to play two more games before retiring at just 30. “I had waited a long time. I hit him fucking hard. The ball was there, and I thought, ‘Take this, you bastard. And don’t ever look at me mockingly,'” the Irishman wrote in his autobiography.
Haaland’s parents (his mother, Gry marita, was Norwegian champion of heptathlon) instilled in him a passion for sport from a very young age. So much so that with just 5 years he was already competing in athletics events.
His physical qualities made him perfect for various disciplines and, indeed, had he not followed in his father’s footsteps, he would have been a promising athlete. Since 2006 it holds the world record long jump for children under 5 years, when he achieved a mark of 1.63 meters.
Before focusing on soccer he also practiced handball, to the point that the Norwegian youth coach tested him for several calls.
Since time immemorial, between Sweden and Norway there are as many cultural ties as there are rivalries. Scandinavia has many sentiments (some of a nationalistic nature), and Haaland is the best example: her idol is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Many see the Dortmund striker as a perfect heir to the veteran player of the AC Milan, and Haaland makes no secret that he wants to pursue a similar career. “He’s my idol. The way he got to be so good, how he plays … He’s Scandinavian too, so someone has to replace him!” He joked in an interview.