In football, upsets happen oftentimes, but only on rare occasions do underdogs put a string of surprises talks more of achieving success with a cinderella run.
In pursuit of domestic glory and trophy, big teams overwhelm their lesser contemporaries (The Small Teams) with superior firepower, amassing huge points by way of consistently outscoring their rivals.
While the small team who can’t outscore their opponent make do with an unbreakable backline while they go on a cinderella run in winning a title.
More often than not, we’ve seen big clubs win trophies at the expense of other teams who can’t match their firepower attacking wise, and team consistency. However, when the unthinkable happens we get to see the underdogs spring up surprises and go on to achieve the unimaginable with a cinderella run winning a certain competition.
In this piece, we’ll talk about 10 Football teams who defied the odds and had cinderella run to win a title.
According to Wikipedia, In Sports, the term Cinderella or ‘Cinderella Story’ or ‘Cinderella Team’, is often used to refers to situations in which competitors in a tournament achieve far greater success than would reasonably have expected.
While Cinderella teams tend to gain much media and fan attention as they move closer to a Championship, trophy, or title at the end of a competition.
Winning a title isn’t exactly the kind of silverware that can be won by mere accident or by chance, certainly, there is always a place of luck in winning a competition, hard work, and determination.
In fact, without a doubt, rarely did any team win a trophy without an element of luck in their triumph. However, when a team triumphs in a competition or league winning over 30-40 games, it didn’t just happen by luck alone they’ve put in hard work and a lot of consistency.
- Leicester City – (England, 2016 Premier League)
The season before the Foxes went on a cinderella run winning the English Premier League, they were battling hard under Nigel Pearson to earn Premier League survival.
Following the sacking of Pearson, claiming “The working relationship between them and Nigel is no longer visible”, Leicester reacted by appointing and handling the reign to former Valencia and Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as their new gaffer going into the 2015-16 Premier League campaign.
The veteran manager didn’t stay long before turning the team spirit around, which worked wonders in helping them stay in the topflight, combined with Ranieri’s tactical nous, hard work and experience helped in guiding the ‘Foxes’ to a great height.
Ranieri’s Leicester cinderella triumph will forever be one of the remarkable title triumphs we’ve seen in football history, without mincing words, the Foxes did surprise the world of football.
Club players such as captain fantastic Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater, goal machine of the team Jamie Vardy, star player Riyad Mahrez and the engine cog Ngolo Kante played a key role in the team triumph.
As Leicester and Ranieri coast home with the title in a season where the big boys decided to faltered badly, except for Pochettino’s Tottenham side who gave the Foxes a bit of fight, before finally going on to achieved the unimaginable.
- Western Sydney Wanderers FC – (Australia, 2014 Asian Champions League)
WSW was founded in 2012 by FFA, with the start of Wanderers first season in the Australian League approaching, Tony Popovic was appointed in putting together a competitive team for the 2012-13 A-League season, which happened to be Wanderers only competition in their first season of creation.
As the A-League new season approaches Popovic’s team was made up of relatively unknown players which includes former Japan international and Asian footballer of year Shinji Ono, as well as Mateo Poljak, Jerome Polenz, Dino Kresinger, Youssef Hersi, and the Italian midfielder Iacopo La Rocca.
Wanderers inaugural season saw them won the A-League Premiership and also reached the 2013 A-League Grand Final, and likewise secured a second-place finish in their second season of the league.
In the space of two years, the Wanderers also achieved the unimaginable as they went on to win the Asian Champions League, against all odds they upsurge great teams such as Ulsan Hyundai, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande, FC Seoul, and Al-Hilal in the final.
The final of the competition was a two-legged affair between Wanderers and Al-Hilal, the first leg was won by Wanderers when they defeated Al-Hilal 1-0 at home, while the second leg ended in a stalemate with Wanderers managing a goalless draw at home.
As they went on to became the first Australian side to be crowned Asian Champions, an achievement they reached in their first attempt.
- Wigan Athletic – (England, 2013 FA Cup)
Wigan Athletic board appointed former player and then manager of Swansea City, Roberto Martinez as their manager going into the 2009-10 Premier League season.
Albeit, in the 2013 Premier League season, the Spaniard gaffer couldn’t do enough to see the ‘Latics‘ from dropping to the Championship following a poor run of form in the English topflight.
Martinez, however against all odds did manage to drag the Latic into the final of the oldest competition in English football (FA Cup).
The Spaniard took his highly unfancied side to the Wembley Stadium in the final, where they defeated the highly fancied Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City side by 1-0, a goal scored by a certain Ben Watson.
The unbelievable triumph of Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup orchestrated the looming departure of former City gaffer, while it’s pushed the Spaniard up in getting a new topflight job with Everton.
Wigan triumphed in winning their first major trophy as well as creating a place for themselves in the group stages of the Europa League.
- EA Guingamp – (France, 2009 & 2014 Coupe De France)
En Avant Guingamp, a French football club founded in 1912, some 108 years ago may not be one of the big spenders in French football unlike the like of Paris Saint Germain, Marseille, and Monaco to some extent. However, they’ve been able to achieve some level of success despite being a very tiny club.
The side from a tiny region of Guingamp in Bretagne, are no more than 8000 if not more now in terms of population, took the French football world by surprise by winning the Coupe de France twice in 2009 and 2014.
The uniqueness of their Coupe de France triumph in 2009 and 2014, was the fact that both final came against the same opponent ‘Stade Rennes’ from the same region.
En Avant Guingamp triumph in 2009 saw them played in the Europa League against HSV Hamburg, where they were severely beaten, while in 2014 they lost to Ukraine side Dinamo Kyiv in the group stages.
Those two great achievements by Guingamp will forever be remembered as a big feat in the history of the club.
- Real Betis – (Spain, 1977 & 2005 Copa Del Rey)
Sevilla FC from the city of Seville ain’t the only club from that region that has achieved great success since the club was established, there was also the crosstown rival Real Betis who surprised the Spanish football by winning the Copa Del Rey, not once but twice in 1977 and 2005 respectively.
Los Verdiblancos came out triumphant in the final against the Basque side Athletic Bilbao, beating them via penalties having played a 2-2 draw in the regular match time.
The final saw 21 penalties being taken by both teams respectively, as Real Betis came out triumphant with a 8-7 result at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
The 2004-05 triumph came against Osasuna, Los Verdiblancos defeated ‘Los Rojillos’ 2-1 in overtime at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, as they achieved the unimaginable by lifting the trophy for the second time in the club history.
- Real Mallorca – (Spain, 2003 Copa Del Rey )
It is pretty rare to see a club other than Barcelona the most successful team in the competition, Real Madrid or Athletic Bilbao win the Copa Del Rey. Of the 118 Copa Del Rey finals that have been played in the competition history, Los Bermellones’ triumphs were 48 of them.
In the 2002-03 season, Los Bermellones ain’t the best of the teams, but they were fortunate enough to win the Copa Del Rey at the expense of Barcelona, following the exit of the Catalan giant to Novelda CF, while Real Mallorca defeated Real Madrid themselves away with 5-1 in both legs.
Real Mallorca won the Copa Del Rey against a lowly side Recreativo de Huelva in the final, the goals were scored by former Argentine international Walter Pandiani and former Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o.
- FC Lorient – (France, 2002 Coupe De France)
The side from the port of Lorient was led by Yvon Pouliquen, in achieving the unthinkable in the history of the club since they were established in 1926.
The likes of Jean Claude Darcheville, Arnaud Le Lan, and Seydou Keita surprised the whole of France by reaching the final of the Coupe de la Ligue which they lost to Bordeaux.
However, Lorient didn’t let the defeat to Bordeaux to affect their momentum, as they continued their impressive run of form in yet another cup competition, the ‘Coupe De France’ two months later.
FC Lorient was victorious against SC Bastia, defeating the Corsicans side 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Jean Darcheville in the final.
- Vincenza – (Italy, 1997 Coppa Italia )
Vicenza Calcio is one of the best clubs in the Seria A for quite a number of years in the ’60s, ’70s, as well as in the ’90s.
Despite being one of the decent sides in Seria A during their days, the only real success that came their way was the ‘Coppa Italia’ which they won in 1997.
In the final against Napoli, no one ever thought the ‘Biancorossi’ would upset the Naples, although they lost the first leg away from home by 1-0. At home in the second leg, Vincenza destroyed Napoli 3-0 in extra time, in the same season they finished ninth in the league.
Having won the Coppa Italia, that qualified them into playing in the following season Cup Winner’s Cup, which they got to the semi-final, before being defeated by the London side Chelsea, after winning the first leg in Vicenza.
- FC Steau Bucharest – (Romania, 1986 European Cup)
Under the supervision of managers such as Emerich Jenei and Anghel Iordanescu, the Red & Blue had an impressive Championship run in the 1984-85 season.
They became the first Romanian side to reach a European Cup final, which they won against almighty Spanish side Barcelona via penalties with their goalkeeper ‘Helmuth Duckadem‘ saving all of the penalties taken by the Catalan giant after a goalless draw.
Following their triumphant in winning the European Cup, the Red & Blue became the first Eastern European team to win the European Champions title.
Steaua Bucharest’s success didn’t stop there, they continued by adding the European Super Cup to their achievement, which they won against Dynamo Kyiv in 1987.
At the time they achieved all of this success, the European Cup wasn’t held because of the whims of the mega-clubs and the global brands in modern football now, then football didn’t enjoy huge global brands just like its enjoying now.
In that time, the Red & Blue were expected to be massacred by Barcelona in Seville, however against all odds they came out top.
- Hellas Verona – (Italy, 1985 Seria A Title)
In a year when referees were randomly assigned matches for the only time in the league, and following the reform of the league after a match-fixing scandal in the league. The unfancied Hellas Verona upset the whole of Seria A by winning their one and only Scudetto in 1985 which came as a huge surprise.
With Juventus parading fantastic players such as Michel Platini, Diego Maradona for Napoli, Zico for Udinese, and Socrates for Fiorentina. Surprisingly Hellas Verona came out of the blue to win the title, although winning the title was made possible for their doggedness in defense, as they only conceded 19 goals in 30 games while Danish forward Preben Elkjaer being their star player.
As unbelievable as the Hellas Verona title triumph was, it was compared to the greatest cinderella run which transpired in the English Premier League, orchestrated by Leicester City in 2016.
Verona backed up a stunning 6th place finish in the 1984-85 season to snatch the title from Juventus, Milan, Napoli, and Inter with a record 15 wins, 13 draws, and 2 defeats to achieve the unimaginable.
- Nottingham Forest – (England, 1979 European Cup Double )
We have seen brilliant managers such as Vicente Del Bosque, and Sir Alex Ferguson, Johan Cruff, Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, and Mourinho.
Before all of these great managers, there was also someone (Brain Clough) who wowed the football world with his managerial nous, and brilliant tactical approaches to games.
Clough was being referred to as the cocky Yorkeshirman who took Nottingham Forest from 13th position of England’s second-tier to become Champions of the English topflight and a consecutive Champions of the European Cup.
Their victory over Malmo of Sweden was followed by yet another win against Hamburg in 1980, completing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sport and arguably the greatest achievement in the game of football.
The Yorkshireman side came from obscurity to become European Champions and England Champions during Clough’s reigns, that achievement will forever be on the lips of all Forest fans.
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
READ ALSO: 7 of the Best Fitness Coaches In Football
- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.