Erling Braut Haaland - From Norway with a Midas TouchErling Braut Haaland is the name on so many lips right now. Not only because he is doing pretty amazing stuff on the pitch but also because he is only 20 and has scored as many UEFA Champions League goals in only 14 games, which is an astonishing fact!
The lad has achieved so much in such little time. His UEFA goal tally came in ten fewer matches than his closest rival on the list. Harry Kane, the next player to strike 20 UEFA Champions League goals in the least number of games, did so after 24 encounters.
Erling joins a list of elite professional footballers that include Alessandro Del Piero, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Filippo Inzaghi, Rivaldo, and Mario Gomez who have scored 20 goals from 35 games or less. Del Piero, van Nistelrooy, and Inzaghi needed 26, 27, and 28 games, respectively, to net 20 goals.
The Norwegian hit the magical number while aged 20 years and 231 days. Haalands closest rival, Kylian Mbappé, netted 20 UEFA Champions League goals when he was 21 years 355 days. Lionel Messi and Raúl González attained the milestone when they were 22 years 266 days and 22 years 297 days, respectively.
What is more interesting is how Haaland's goals have come in. He scored eight each in 2019 and 2020 and has another four so far in 2021. Eight goals were netted while turning out for Salzburg and another 12 since he joined Borussia Dortmund.
Four of the 20 came via his right foot, another 15 through the other foot, while one was a header. Home games have provided an opportunity for 12 of these goals, while eight were scored during away games.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the all-time leading goal scorer of the UEFA Champions League, reached 20 goals after 56 games while aged 24 years and 306 days.
During the 2019-2020 season, while playing for Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland became the first teenager to see the net in five back-to-back UEFA Champions League matches. After completing a move to Borussia Dortmund in December 2019, he extended his goal-scoring exploits in Europes topflight football, becoming the only the second teenager to net ten goals in the competition.
The England-born player has played for three clubs so far. He signed for Molde, aged 16 years. For the two seasons that the football prodigy turned out for the Norwegian outfit, he scored 14 league goals in 39 appearances. He also scored a total of six goals in the national cup and continental competition.
At RB Salzburg, Haaland scored 29 goals in 27 appearances, while in Borussia Dortmund, he has scored a total of 47 goals from a similar number of games. He has appeared for his national team seven times, bagging six goals.
As a 20-year-old attracting interest from the best teams in European leagues, Erling Haaland has a long way to go and an equally long list of records to set. It will be interesting to watch his performance in the next few seasons.