Air Haaland: Borussia Dortmund's star striker is head and shoulders above the rest of the field in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League. - © IMAGO / Moritz Müller
Air Haaland: Borussia Dortmund's star striker is head and shoulders above the rest of the field in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League. - © IMAGO / Moritz Müller

Erling Haaland: Cristiano Ronaldo's successor as Mr. Champions League?


On a night when Cristiano Ronaldo's hopes of winning a sixth UEFA Champions League title were dashed, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland enhanced his wrecking-ball reputation with yet another goal-scoring masterclass.

Haaland produced what's fast becoming a trademark brace as Dortmund advanced to the 2020/21 Champions League quarter-finals, thanks to a 5-4 aggregate win over Sevilla.

The 20-year-old now ranks as the first player to score more than once in four consecutive Champions League outings, and the quickest to reach 20 goals - in 14 appearances.

Twenty-four games was the previous best-mark, held by Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane. Ronaldo - whose Juventus team suffered an away-goals defeat to Porto in the last-16 - needed 56 matches.

Haaland also breaks Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe's record for most Champions League goals before the age of 21, whilst surpassing Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the highest-scoring Norwegian in the competition.

No player has registered more Champions League goals this season - Haaland is four clear of the chasing back on 10. No one has struck with such regularity since the Leeds-born forward made his tournament debut for Red Bull Salzburg in September 2019.

Bayern Munich counterpart Robert Lewandowski has put away 19 goals in that time; Ronaldo eight; Mbappe 15; Lionel Messi seven.

In the words of Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui, after witnessing Haaland rattle off four of Dortmund's five goals in their last-16 tie: "He made the difference, and will define a new era in football."

Haaland is well on his way to doing just that. As well as reaching 20 Champions League goals in record time - Mbappe achieved the feat aged 21 years 355 days, all-time leading competition scorer Ronaldo at 24 years 306 days - he's the greenest player to smash through the 100-career-goals barrier on European soil.

Haaland - who brought up his century with a brace in the 4-2 defeat to Bayern in Der Klassiker on 6 March - has now scored 102 senior goals in 131 appearances for club and country.

Almost half of that eye-watering tally has fallen across his 14 months as a Dortmund player. He's plundered 47 goals in as many games for the five-time Bundesliga champions, adding to his 29 goals in 27 matches in RB Salzburg colours, 20 in 50 outings for Molde, and six in seven on the international stage with Norway.

To reiterate that's 102 goals at the age of 20 years and 231 days. Only Neymar reached treble figures for goals sooner, albeit for Santos in Brazil.

Watch: Erling Haaland's roots

Ronaldo and Messi remain the gold standard for goalscorers with over 1490 strikes between them. They're still going strong into their 30s, and have a comfortable cushion as the Champions League's one and two on 134 and 119 goals respectively.

Ronaldo has achieved double figures on seven occasions in the Champions League, doing so for the first time at the ninth attempt in 2011/12, at the age of 27. Messi has tallied 10 or more single-season tournament goals in five of his 17 seasons in the competition, but was three years younger than Ronaldo when he first reached the milestone.

If Haaland stays fit and continues to fire at his current clip of a one goal per competitive game for Dortmund - 1.43 per 90 minutes in the Champions League - well, you do the math...

Chris Mayer-Lodge