Benjamin Sesko will ply his trade at the Red Bull Arena with RB Leipzig as of the 2023/24 season. - © IMAGO/motivio/IMAGO/motivio
Benjamin Sesko will ply his trade at the Red Bull Arena with RB Leipzig as of the 2023/24 season. - © IMAGO/motivio/IMAGO/motivio
bundesliga

Benjamin Sesko: Who is RB Leipzig's wonderkid striker with shades of Erling Haaland?

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RB Leipzig beat a number of Europe's biggest clubs to the signing of Benjamin Sesko, the man who filled the enormous shoes of Erling Haaland at Red Bull Salzburg. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on one of the most exciting young players on the planet...

Stats correct as of 30 June 2023

Benjamin Sesko

Age: 20 (born 31 May 2003)
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Striker
Country: Slovenia (19 caps / 6 goals)

Key stats

Slovenia-born Sesko's fledgling career began with local team Radece at just seven years old, before a brief move to Rudar Trbovlije and back. Young Sesko eventually went on to also learn his craft at Krsko, where he stacked up 59 goals in 23 games for the club's U15s. He joined Slovenian top-flight outfit NK Domzale in 2018, but he lasted just one season before signing professional terms with Salzburg in 2019, aged 16.

Sesko initially joined Salzburg's partner club, Liefering, on loan for two seasons. Following a prolific 2020/21 season in which he scored 21 times in 29 games to help the club to second place in the Austrian second division, Sesko got his big chance at Salzburg in 2021/22, making 37 appearances, including six in the UEFA Champions League. He scored 11 goals - with five in five Austrian Cup games to finish as the competition’s top scorer - and laid on six assists, helping Salzburg to the Austrian double. In 2022/23, he kicked on another gear, hitting 16 goals in 30 league appearances to earn a second league title in succession.

Sesko, who was eligible to play for either Slovenia or Bosnia and Herzegovina, made 25 youth international appearances for the country of his birth, before being fast-tracked to the senior side to make his full international debut against North Macedonia on 1 June 2021. He became his country's youngest-ever player in the 1–1 draw and then made more history as Slovenia's youngest-ever goalscorer (18 years, four months and eight days) when he found the back of the net in a 4-0 win over Malta during their 2022 World Cup qualifying match on 8 October 8 2021.

Plays a bit like: Erling Haaland

The comparisons between the former Borussia Dortmund man and Leipzig's incoming striker are hard to avoid. Both are big lads, with Sesko actually an inch taller than his Salzburg predecessor at 6'4" and both defy their envious physical statures with electrifying pace. Sesko is a major threat in the air, two-footed, has great technique and an eye for the spectacular. Little wonder then that his teammates in Austria have told him he could go on to reach similar, or even greater, heights than Haaland.

“Such comparisons motivate me and give me energy," Sesko said previously of being likened to Haaland. "They do not represent pressure. I will listen and learn so I can be even better than he is. My teammates at the club tell me that Haaland and I are very similar, especially in terms of speed. Most of them even tell me that I’m better than him!”

Watch: Erling Haaland's best Bundesliga goals for Borussia Dortmund

Did you know?

Sesko absolutely sees Haaland as an inspirational figure and admitted he studies footage of the Norwegian on YouTube. "He's an amazing player, I've big respect for him and I usually watch many YouTube videos about him," said Sesko after the pair went head-to-head with their countries in September 2022. Both were on the scoresheet that day and Sesko grabbed a winner before heading to his opponent to also collect a souvenir.

"I'm very happy I received Haaland's jersey. I want [to] keep it for my jersey collection. He also said 'well played', I was very happy."

What they're saying

“The club’s policy based on young players and attractive, attacking football suits me perfectly. The city, the stadium and RB Leipzig’s entire infrastructure has — in addition to positive talks with the club’s representatives — convinced me that the move to Leipzig is absolutely the right one to make." - Sesko after joining Leipzig

“Benjamin Sesko is among the game’s top young talents and has enormous potential to become a top player. He has all the qualities to do that. He’s extremely quick, has a great jump on him and is strong in the air. Benjamin is a real goalscorer, who despite his 1.95m (6'4") is mobile and technically strong. His abilities make him a special player with a special profile.” - Leipzig technical director Christopher Vivell