Erling Braut Håland has made the headlines for all the right reasons since he broke on to the scene at Red Bull Salzburg in 2019. Now at German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, of course, he is continuing to steal the spotlight and is more often than not a nightmare to tame for the opposition defenders.
His two most recent goals in the Champions League helped Dortmund progress to the quarter-final stages of the tournament against a dogged Sevilla and took his overall record for BVB to 47 goals in 47 games since he signed for the club last January.
It’s an incredible goal tally, and rightfully, he is being tipped to be the next big thing in European football. He is scoring goals with such ease and the fact that he is only 20 years of age makes it all the more mind-boggling for the average onlooker.
His two goals in the Champions League against the La Liga outfit took his tally in Europe’s elite competition to 20 goals in just 14 games. That in itself is an incredible feat. In fact, he is the fastest and youngest player in the history of the competition to reach the impressive landmark. So, it’s no wonder he alone can make Dortmund all the more favourable in the 2021 Champions League odds.
Håland broke the previous record set by Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane in 10 fewer games, and he is already just two goals away from breaking into the top 50 all-time scorers in the tournament.
In comparison with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who are first and second in the all-time scorers chart with 134 and 120 goals respectively, it took Ronaldo until he was 24 and 56 games to notch up 20 strikes and Messi, who was 22, 40 games. So, that puts in perspective just how amazing Håland’s feat is.
The question now is whether the Norwegian international can keep up his goal-scoring prowess in the long run and bag as many goals in the competition as the two aforementioned stars? There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a tough task for Håland. He would need to score 10 goals a season in the Champions League for the next 10 years to match Messi’s current tally and even more to surpass Ronaldo’s.
Of course, he is just 20 and as a striker he could play well into his 30s, so it is doable. However, he must keep fit and would need to play for a club getting far in the Champions League’s knockout stages year-after-year for the remainder of his career if he wants to truly get within touching distance of the Barcelona and Juventus forwards.
Nonetheless, German journalist Raphael Honigstein is confident that is the 20-year-old can keep scoring in the same fashion, then he’ll outscore both Ronald and Messi by the time he hangs up his boots.
“He’s only played 30 months at this level, and he’s only going to get better. If you put him in a better team… I don’t know where this could stop,” Honigstein told talkSPORT.
“The stats are crazy, if he continues scoring at the same level, he will outscore both Ronaldo and Messi, which seems absolutely crazy to contemplate, but he could do it!”
As Håland continues to steal the headlines in the UEFA Champions League news, all of the remaining teams in the competition, along with those still fighting for a place in the quarter-finals, will dread facing the 20-year-old in the next round.