Erling Haaland announced himself to the world last spring when he bulldozed Honduras at the U-20 World Cup, scoring nine of Norway’s goals in a 12–0 blowout. Anyone who considered that record-breaking nine-goal afternoon a fluke had a harder time hand-waving away the striker’s 16 goals in 14 league matches for Austrian club Salzburg over the first half of this season, and especially the eight goals he scored against the likes of Liverpool, Napoli, and Genk in the Champions League. And today, after his third-consecutive multi-goal day for Borussia Dortmund–his new club as of January–it’s impossible to believe this 19-year-old is anything other than the realest of deals.
BVB hosted Union Berlin today in what was Haaland’s first start for the Black and Yellows. The big teen’s day could’ve easily been something of a let-down, after his off-the-bench hat-trick in his Bundesliga debut and the follow-up brace he scored in his second substitute appearance a week later. Instead, Haaland kept right on chugging, scoring yet another goal early in the first half of today’s game:
That goal was his sixth for Dortmund, all of which he’d scored in under 90 minutes of total time on the pitch. Not quite his nine-in-90 pace from the match against Honduras, but not too shabby, either. He added a second with a trademark powerful low strike in the 76th minute, giving Dortmund their final 6–0 scoreline:
As impressive a player as the young Norwegian already is, the intelligence of his career decisions is arguably just as admirable. His choices to turn down bigger clubs twice now–first as a teen prospect who reportedly snubbed the likes of Manchester United to sign with Salzburg in 2018, and again this winter when he reportedly snubbed the likes of Manchester United to sign with Dortmund–couldn’t have been easy, but the moves demonstrated a savvy preference for playing time and development over money and prestige. He’s now perfectly set up to continue to grow as a player at one of the world’s most renowned incubators of young talent, and then to finally make that big step to one of the game’s truly elite teams.
I’d advise him when and where to take that next step, only–as this website’s very existence testifies to–I’m pretty sure the last person on Earth anyone should take career advice from is me.