Erling Haaland's record-breaking start to life with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga has sent shockwaves across the footballing world. The Norwegian striker could never have imagined a better beginning with BVB, with the players around him making his goal-scoring job so much easier.
Speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com, Haaland, 19, discusses growing up in Norway playing every sport imaginable - even golf! - as well as playing alongside Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard and how he always believed he could become one of the best players in the world...
bundesliga.com: How was it to grow up in the Norwegian town of Bryne?
Erling Haaland: "Yes, it was very nice, actually. I still have a lot of friends there, and yeah, I enjoyed it. It's a very small town where I biked all over - to training, to school and everything. My family was living five to ten minutes away from me. Yeah, small town, and I enjoyed it a lot. Bryne is home for me."
bundesliga.com: When did you start playing football as a child, and what other sports did you try when you were younger?
Haaland: "I started playing football when I was five. I don't remember when I started playing handball - I think I was eight or nine. I was also doing track and field when I was young. And I also played a little golf. So I did a lot of things."
bundesliga.com: Was there anything specifically that you were good at sporting wise as a child?
Haaland: "I was good at jumping. I think I have a world record in jumping for five or six-year-old guys. I was also good at sprinting. I think so, yeah. It's a good record, yes, but I think it's unofficial!"
bundesliga.com: Your father, Alf-Inge Haaland, was also a professional footballer. Was he a role model for you getting into football?
Haaland: "Yeah, of course, my father has been a big role model for me. I always said to myself I want to become a professional football player at a high level, and that's what I said my whole life. To try to get better than him is also a goal. I had a lot of role models, but my father is maybe the biggest one."
bundesliga.com: Is your career already better than your father's?
Haaland: "No, not yet. He has 34 games for Norway, and I think over 200 games in the Premier League in England, so I'm still missing a bit."
bundesliga.com: Not many can say they have achieved what you have achieved at 19, but could you ever really imagine that you'd be where you are now already?
Haaland: "I always said to myself that my dream is to become one of the best players in the world, but also to become a professional football player. I said to myself my whole life, and I knew when I was young that I was good, but you know, it's also a long way to go. But when I got my first professional contract in Bryne, I was thinking 'this is a good thing'. But on the other side, it's nothing compared to others. Also, when I was in Salzburg, I started scoring goals there, but if I'm realistic, I look at Kylian Mbappe, he's scoring, he's banging in goals in Ligue 1, so you know, you can always reach a higher level in football."
bundesliga.com: It sounds like you have always been this ambitious?
Haaland: "I've had my whole life to set my goals very high, and that's what I've been doing my whole life."
Watch: Haaland and Sancho, Dortmund's dream teenage team!
bundesliga.com: It's not only your father that was into sport, though, but your mother was too, right?
Haaland: "My mother used to do track and field, yes. I think my speed, it comes from both my mother and my father."
bundesliga.com: Could you imagine your start in the Bundesliga going so well?
"No. To be honest, no, not like this. But you know, that's how it is, and I'm happy about that."
bundesliga.com: And what was your first experience of the Signal Iduna Park like?
Haaland: "It was exactly the same as I had before. I heard a lot about it, I'd seen a lot of games, I'd seen how amazing the fans are and all those kind of things, but I didn't know it was so nice. When I walked out for the first time, on the bench of course, and I heard the Yellow Wall and the whole stadium singing, it was fantastic, it was like a dream when you're young and dream to play in front of 80,000. It was another level… This was also quite nice, to be honest!"
bundesliga.com: Have you watched all of the goals that you've scored for Dortmund again?
Haaland: "I've seen them a lot, and when I see them I just want to do it again. So yeah, I've seen it a lot."
bundesliga.com: Despite your ability in front of goal, Dortmund have still struggled to come out on top in tight games so far in 2020. Why do you think that is?
Haaland: "It's hard to say because we're such a good team. Maybe for some teams, this is the hardest part: to get the maximum out of the whole team. For every player to perform at the top level because we're good enough. I think maybe this is a problem, I don't know. But to perform at the highest level for 90 minutes, every game."
bundesliga.com: Do you think it's that then, a case of concentration for 90 minutes being the key?
Haaland: "I don't know for sure, but maybe. To perform in 90 minutes and to be aware, because we're good enough to win every game in the Bundesliga, but we have to be awake in the game for 90 minutes."
Watch: Haaland's record-breaking seven goals in his first three games!
bundesliga.com: What did your father make of your first games in a Dortmund shirt?
Haaland: "He was at them, actually. He was at Augsburg in the stands, with another friend of his and mine, and I think he enjoyed it."
bundesliga.com: How did it feel to win the Bundesliga's Rookie of the Month award in your first month in the league?
Haaland: "As you say, it's been a very good start and I'm proud of this, but that's not my full focus. My full focus is to achieve something with the team. But yeah, it's a nice award."
bundesliga.com: What's it been like to settle in with the squad on the pitch and fit into the way the team plays?
Haaland: "You know, I've been here one month, but when my team is all so good, it gets easy sometimes to create chances and to play with them, because they’re so good. The first second I played with Jadon [Sancho], Marco [Reus], Thorgan [Hazard], you know these guys, it just sits direct, and that's how it is with world-class players."
bundesliga.com: Has it been hard for you to deal with all the hype around you in recent months?
Haaland: "No, it's easy. Why not?"
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