Erling Braut Haaland: Is Red Bull Salzburg striker really ‘the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic’?

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By Gary Rose
BBC Sport
The newest Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
This was the question newspaper after striker Erling Braut Haaland declared himself in the 6-2 win over Genk of Red Bull Salzburg at the Champions League with a debut hat-trick asked in September.
Perhaps Ibrahimovic wouldn’t agree – after all, there is only one Zlatan – but it’s an comparison.
Both well over 6ft tall, the two Scandinavians, possess an unwavering confidence in their ability. Both have a reputation as goalscorers.
However, while Ibrahimovic is currently nearing the end of the soccer career, Haaland that is 19-year-old is only beginning. He has scored 17 goals in 10 club games, including four hat-tricks, and will seem to improve that tally to get Salzburg from Liverpool on Wednesday (20:00 BST).
Born in Leeds, and mad on Leeds United, Haaland grew up loving the game. A opportunity to examine himself at Anfield will be quite a significant moment.
Why Leeds? Because of his daddy.
Alf-Inge Haaland has been a midfielder in Elland Road between 2000 and 1997, helping them finish third in the Premier League and hit a Uefa Cup semi-final.
Erling was born in the city in 2000 but proceeded to Bryne in Norway with his family when he was three, after his father’s retirement.
For somebody who had been such a massive fan of soccer, it was the move for Erling.
“That part of Norway gets rather a lot of rain,” says Norwegian journalist Nils Henrik Smith, who grew up in Bryne and has been educated PE by Alf-Inge.
“But around the time the Haalands moved there, the neighborhood soccer team constructed a brand new indoor hall, therefore it made it much easier for children to play soccer all year round.”
The potential in the young age of erling was clear and, a growth spurt in his early adolescents supposed that he was fast-tracked through the club’s youth teams, often playing team-mates a couple of years older after linking Bryne.
A change of management resulted in the youth-team boss of the club carrying over the first group, and he also gave Erling his debut.
“I had been there for his starting debut,” lasted Henrik Smith. “He was fast and had a fantastic turn of speed; he left intelligent runs.
“He was not but gangly at that point. He didn’t have the muscle he’s now – but you might see there was there.”
Someone else who noticed talent was Gunnar Solskjaer.
If they moved to signal Haaland in January 2017 the Manchester United boss was in charge of Molde. In the months that followed, they got to work on growing the participant into the successful attacker he is now.
Gym sessions helped while Solskjaer, who scored 167 aims in 420 matches for Molde and Manchester United, utilized his expertise to fine-tune his protege’s completing Haaland build muscle mass to bulk out his huge frame.
The results were instant.
Haaland, filmed”Manchild” by his newest Molde team-mates due to his age and size, was the focus of a method that matched his personality and scored 12 goals in 25 appearances for the club – including four at a catastrophic 20-minute spell against team leaders Brann.
“His dad is a good friend of mine, so we understood about him for a long time,” former Norway striker Jan Age Fjortoft told BBC World Service.
“Then we watched him when he came to Molde beneath Solskjaer and thought this was a man who may go far. This is a man desperate to score goals, which is a fantastic beginning. He has potency and that speed. He is so clear in what he wants.”
One day ahead of his side win over Genk in the Champions League, his dog was out walking if he suddenly heard a noise that was familiar.
“Die Meister! Die Besten! Les grandes equipes! The winners!”
It was, for those unfamiliar the Champions League anthem, with its lyrics, being blasted out of a car which approached Ulmer. The car pulled alongside him, the window came down and there at the driver’s chair was Haaland. He was listening to psych himself up.
“It is possibly my favourite tune,” Haaland advised Red Bull Salzburg’s official website. “I have been listening to this Champions League anthem since I was a little kid.”
It is the type of story you wouldn’t be amazed to hear told about Ibrahimovic. As well as their similarities about the soccer pitch, both appear to have similar traits off it.
After his Champions League hat-trick, Haaland was the man of the moment andhe stood in front of a tv camera, he was asked with a Uefa journalist he had been feeling following the achievement in his career.
“Really good,” was Haaland’s short reply, stated with a wry smile in his face.
The interviewer pressed on:”What is the key? Seventeen goals now in nine games…”
“To work hard.”
“Your dad scored at Anfield in 1997 – are you going to follow suit?”
“I expect so.”
Arrogant? Maybe. Confident? Definitely. It is perhaps no surprise, awarded Ibrahimovic was that the participant growing up, Haaland aspired to be.
“I had many role models and looked up to many wnba score predictions players, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been the greatest of them all,” he said.
“How he got so great, how he performs… Besides, he is Scandinavian, so he has to be followed by one!”
The late 1990s and early 2000s was a golden era for Gaelic soccer, as a steady stream of talented players played in Europe’s top leagues.
The Important championship Norway qualified for was Euro 2000, if their squad included Tore Andre Flo, Solskjaer, Henning Berg, John Arne Riise, John Carew and Eirik Bakke.
Those gamers have retired and, for a little while, Norway appeared to have been left at the jungle.
However, Haaland is among an exciting group of Norwegian gift.
While towering 21-year-old defender Kristoffer Ajer is a starter at Celtic midfielder Martin Odegaard, on loan at Real Sociedad from Real Madrid, is one of the standout performers in La Liga in the present time.
“Norwegians are enthusiastic,” lasted Henrik Smith.
“But there are people that will say Haaland’s hat-trick was against Genk, so maybe we can’t get too excited just yet.”
Given his self-confessed love of English soccer, Haaland seems destined to one day play in the Premier League.
However, by which team? So when?
The link with Solskjaer could make Manchester United an obvious destination, though Haaland said in a 2017 interview with a Norwegian paper that he wanted to”win the Premier League with Leeds United”.
But with the best respect to Leeds, is not going to happen anytime soon, however one thing appears certain: Haaland, under the guidance of his father Alf-Inge, will consider his next move.
Juventus voiced an interest however the forward chose instead to move to Austria January, recognising the dedication of Red Bull Salzburg.
Before earning large moves, Naby Keita and duo Sadio Mane both played there. Mane went into the Premier League with Southampton, Keita with RB Leipzig into the Bundesliga.
“I thought it was too early to go there,” Haaland said of their Juventus interest.
“Salzburg was the team that suited me the very best and I think it was quite important to look at how significant a component I was planning to play to the club I’ve joined. There is more of a possibility of playing ”
Molde managing manager Oystein Neerland is convinced when the timing is perfect, Haaland will move.
“Alf-Inge has brought up a great son and was a great dad in football in counseling him to select the proper measures up to now,” Neerland told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast.
“As I know him from MoldeI think Erling will manage and take control of this circumstance. It was a fantastic move from Molde to Salzburg and in a few years he will take some measures .
“I believe he could be an even better player and attain a higher level.”
Regardless of his next move could be, when he can preserve his goalscoring start for this 26, the stock of Haaland will only continue to climb.
And when he puts in a different headline-grabbing operation against Liverpool on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic himself may even sit up and take note.
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