Watch out, Messi: Erling Haaland is coming for your 50-goal club

After Erling Haaland scored twice in his first league game after the World Cup break, a British newspaper described it like “Head and shoulders above the rest.” It was a reference to the Norwegian’s strike long blonde hair and a popular shampoo brand. Since he signed with Manchester City last summerthere’s no better way to capture just how much Haaland dominated English football.

While the reigning English Premier League champions have yet to storm third consecutive league title – City trail this season’s surprise team Arsenal five points with 18 games left — Haaland has, on an individual level, more than justified the fear opposing managers felt when a player with his size combination (he is 6 feet 3 inches), speed and skill arrived from German side Borussia Dortmund. At the start of the new season, the main question was how big the striker’s goal tally would be. Some said it would break Andy Cole and Alan Shearer’s single-season EPL record of 34. Others have gone further and predicted 40.

Few, if any, said he would eclipse 50. But after 19 games, Haaland has already scored 25 goals. From EPL records he has already broken include: fastest player to score 10 goals (six games); fastest player to score three hat tricks (eight games); fastest player to 20 goals (13 games) and only player to score 20 times before January, despite this season containing a six-week World Cup break. With 18 games left, he is currently on pace at a 49 not seen before in English football if he plays all of City’s remaining games and maintains his score-per-game rate.

Haaland is set to absolutely shatter the EPL goalscoring record

All individual seasons with 30+ goals in English Premier League history, plus Erling Haaland’s prorated full-season pace for 2022-23

Player Season Team Goals
Erling Haaland* 2022-23 City of Man 49
Andrew Cole 1993-94 Newcastle 34
Alain Shearer 1994-95 Blackburn 34
Mohammad Salah 2017-18 liverpool 32
Cristiano Ronaldo 2007-08 united man 31
Alain Shearer 1993-94 Blackburn 31
Alain Shearer 1995-96 Blackburn 31
Luis Suarez 2013-14 liverpool 31
Thierry Henry 2003-04 Arsenal 30
Robin van Persie 2011-12 Arsenal 30
Kevin Phillips 1999-00 Sunderland 30
Harry Kane 2017-18 Tottenham 30

* Pro-rated over a full season of 38 team games, assuming Haaland plays all of Man City’s remaining games and maintains his goals-per-game pace.


Every time Haaland touches the ball – or even gets close to it – defenders across the league are on alert for possible embarrassment. Surrounded by some of the most gifted playmakers in the world – Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, to name just three – the 50-goal mark is not out of the question this season.

And it’s not just English records that Haaland has on his way to destruction. Looking at the best single-season totals from Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1, Haaland is rapidly climbing the combined records of The five major European championships. If the Norwegian the attacker continues at their current strike rate, only Lionel Messi’s 50 Fascinating Goals The La Liga campaign for Barcelona in the 2011-12 season will be the toughest in the history of the Big Five leagues.

Only Messi’s 50 can top Haaland’s goal tally

All individual seasons with 40+ goals in Europe’s Big Five leagues, plus Erling Haaland’s prorated full-season pace for 2022-23

Player Season Team League Goals
Lionel Messi 2011-12 Barcelona The league 50
Erling Haaland* 2022-23 City of Man premier league 49
Cristiano Ronaldo 2014-15 real Madrid The league 48
Cristiano Ronaldo 2011-12 real Madrid The league 46
Lionel Messi 2012-13 Barcelona The league 46
Lionel Messi 2014-15 Barcelona The league 43
Robert Lewandowski 2020-21 Bayern Munich Bundesliga 41
Cristiano Ronaldo 2010-11 real Madrid The league 40
Luis Suarez 2015-16 Barcelona The league 40

* Pro-rated over a full season of 38 team games, assuming Haaland plays all of Man City’s remaining games and maintains his goals-per-game pace.


What makes Haaland’s inaugural EPL campaign even more remarkable is that he does so at just 22 years old. Messi was 24 when he scored 50 and had spent the previous seven seasons building relationships with the Barcelona first team. When Cristiano Ronaldo scored 48 times for Real Madrid three seasons later, he was 29 and well into his prime. Then there’s the fact that Haaland is doing it in a league considered the richest – the EPL are expected to generate €7.1bn this season, nearly double that of second-placed La Liga, according to Statista – and the best in the world – England’s teams have had the best performances in the Champions League and UEFA Europa League over the past three seasons, according to UEFA country coefficients.

Similar to Messi and Ronaldo before him, Haaland will forever be compared to a contemporary star: Kylian Mbappe. The French phenom burst onto the scene in the 2016-17 season, when he helped Monaco win their first league title in almost two decades with 15 goals at 17. PSG went on to shell out £166million make him the most expensive teenager everand the second most expensive player in the world. So far in his already illustrious career, Mbappé has won five Ligue 1 titles, three French Cups and the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France. Following his hat-trick in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final last month, the 24-year-old is widely regarded as the best in the world.

Haaland’s trophy cabinet is much emptier in comparison – Haaland won the Austrian Bundesliga and the Austrian Cup with RB Salzburg and the German Cup with Dortmund. But in terms of individual prowess, it was Haaland who was the most clinical in front of goal to start his career, compared to any of his three peers.

Haaland’s early career puts him ahead of rivals

Most goals per game in domestic league, Champions League and international competitions in a 22-year-old’s season for Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Player League LG champions. International Total Early. GM Goals/GM
Haaland 112 28 21 161 170 0.95
Mbappe 134 29 19 182 262 0.69
Messi 88 25 13 126 238 0.53
Ronaldo 69 11 20 100 282 0.35


As Haaland continues to assault the record books, it’s fitting that the man leading him to the top of the game is the same manager who guided Messi to the top. Pep Guardiola is a serial winner – the Spaniard has won 14 trophies with Barcelona, ​​seven with Bayern Munich, and in Manchester he has 11 and continues. More so, Guardiola has taken countless high potential players and made them into the elite. At Barcelona, ​​apart from Messi, Pep has helped Andres Iniesta and current Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez take their games to the next level. At Bayern, he did the same with Robert Lewandowski. And now at City, De Bruyne, Rodri and João Cancelo have all arguably become the best in the world in their positions.

But with Haaland, Guardiola has arguably his most advanced player of all at such a young age. As a further measure of his greatness, Haaland took just 20 games to score 25 goals under Guardiola – the fastest to do so, eight games less than Messi. Perhaps the scariest factor of all is just how badly Haaland could end up becoming under Pep when he gets even more polished.

Haaland’s rise is not completely unlimited. His country’s lack of international success could end up becoming Haaland’s kryptonite in the GOAT debate. The world has just seen how Messi’s World Cup triumph with Argentina cemented his place above Ronaldo, Skin and Diego Maradona. But Norway, on the other hand, have only qualified for three of the 22 FIFA World Cups – the most recent in 1998 before Haaland was even born – and played in just one of the 16 FIFA World Cups. UEFA Europe. That said, if Haaland can somehow lead his nation to the final stages of a major tournament, it could be his greatest achievement – ​​aside from the assault he is currently waging on the Premier League record books. .

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