Erling Haaland is determined to get Manchester City over the line in his “favourite tournament” the Champions League this season as the Norwegian superstar was unveiled by the Premier League champions on Sunday.
The 21-year-old was greeted by around 5,000 adoring City fans at the Etihad Stadium and did not hold back in his promise to help deliver more trophies after signing from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of 60 million euros (£51 million, $63 million).
Haaland had his pick of Europe’s top clubs thanks to a buyout clause below his market value and a stunning record of 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund.
His statistics at Champions League level are even more impressive with 23 goals in just 19 appearances for Salzburg and Dortmund.
City have won four Premier League titles in the last five seasons under Pep Guardiola, but the biggest prize in European football has continued to allude them.
“The Champions League is my favourite competition so I think you have the answer there,” said Haaland on whether he can be the difference maker when it counts in Europe.
Despite his goalscoring record, Haaland won only one trophy, the 2021 German Cup, during his time at Dortmund.
“Sometimes I see players posting photos with a trophy and I think ‘I would love to be you right now’,” he added.
“I just have to keep working hard and, hopefully, in the future I will lift a couple of trophies.”
Haaland has an emotional connection to City as his father Alf-Inge played for the club between 2000 and 2003.
He said it was the experience of coming up against Guardiola’s juggernaut in the Champions League quarter-finals last year that convinced him City should be his next destination.
“You can watch from TV, but when you are actually there you get a better feeling,” said Haaland.
“I didn’t touch the ball for 25 minutes. I was like ‘please (Ilkay) Gundogan stop playing tiki-taka’.
“It’s a different level. How they approach the game, how they play, that’s what I want to be a part of.”
– Haaland a ‘monster’ –
City also unveiled other new signings: Argentine forward Julian Alvarez and German goalkeeper Stefan Ortega on Sunday.
The deal to bring Alvarez to Manchester was agreed in January, but he remained on loan at River Plate and equalled a Copa Libertadores record by scoring six goals in a single game in May.
Haaland’s arrival is likely to block the 22-year-old’s path to game time as a centre-forward, but said he is happy play across the forward line.
Gabriel Jesus has already left City to join Arsenal and Raheem Sterling is on the verge of signing for Chelsea, which could offer Alvarez more opportunities from a wide area.
“I know Erling is a great player. He has scored a lot of goals, but I have come to do my thing,” said Alvarez. “I can play in different positions.”
Ortega will provide back up to first-choice goalkeeper Ederson after joining on a free transfer.
Haaland failed to score against Ortega during their time together in the Bundesliga, but the former Arminia Bielefied stopper hailed the Norwegian’s physical development into a “monster.”
“His transformation is outstanding,” said Ortega. “When I first played against him he was a kind of skinny kid.
“Now he is a monster with this size, speed, this quality in the shootings and headers. He is the full package of what you can get.”
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