Who is Erling Braut Haaland, Europe's most in-form striker?

The Red Bull Salzburg player's name will have a familiar ring to those who follow the Premier League

Seventeen goals in his first nine games of the season. It sounds like the kind of goalscoring spree that could only be achieved by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Even Mohamed Salah would struggle to reach that level.

The feat actually belongs to Erling Braut Haaland of Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg. Does his name sound familiar? We'll explain why that is, but first, those goals ...

How has Haaland reached 17 goals so quickly?

Scoring hat-tricks helps. On Tuesday evening he became the third youngest player to score a treble in the Champions League as Salzburg swept aside Belgian side Genk 6-2 in their opening match.

Only Real Madrid legend Raul (18 years, 113 days) and Wayne Rooney at Manchester United (18 years, 340 days) have scored Champions League hat-tricks at a younger age than Haaland, who was 19 years and 58 days.

He also became the first player to score more than once on his Champions League debut since Rooney against Fenerbahce in 2004.

Haaland's hat-trick was his fourth this season, following one in the Austrian league against Wolfsberger in August and another against Hartberg on Saturday. His other hat-trick came in the domestic cup against fourth division Parndorf.

He also netted twice against St Polten, and once against Mattersburg, Admira Wacker and Swarovski Wattens.

What was said after his Champions League treble against Genk?

A wise head on young shoulders, Haaland said he and his teammates are seeking to emulate the achievement of last year's surprise semi-finalists, Ajax.

"Everything is possible. We all saw Ajax last year, it would be nice to be the new Ajax," he said.

His manager, the American Jesse Marsch, focused on Haaland's character rather than his goalscoring attributes in his post-match comments.

"Haaland is a great player, but even more [important] for me is that he's a great young man," Marsch said.

"He shows up every day, he works hard and takes nothing for granted ... We're really lucky to have him here and if we can keep him fit, he's only going to get better."

So, that name connection ...

Erling Braut is the son of former Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Leeds United defender-cum-midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland. He played in English football between 1993 and 2003.

Haaland senior is mostly remembered for his feud with Manchester United's Roy Keane.

Keane suffered a serious knee injury in 1997 when attempting to foul Haaland, then of Leeds. Keane claims Haaland accused him of faking his injury.

Revenge came in 2001 when Keane unleashed one of the most vicious tackles seen in modern football, connecting with Haaland's knee and receiving a red card.

Keane later said in his autobiography that he had "waited long enough" for the moment.

"And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse," Keane wrote.

The injury effectively ended Haaland's career.

Anything else we need to know?

Haaland junior, born in Leeds, is a man-mountain measuring in at 1.91m. But that doesn't mean he isn't adept on the ground - all three of his goals against Genk were scored with his feet.

Earlier this year he scored nine goals in a Fifa Under 20 World Cup match against Honduras, and has already made his full international debut for Norway.

He started his club career at Norwegian side Molde, scoring 14 goals and playing under current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Haaland moved on to Salzburg in January.

What chance Solskjaer and Haaland being reunited again?

Published: September 18, 2019 12:04 PM


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