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Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

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Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early



The degree of skills and intelligence with which some plied their craft as a football player made them truly amazing athletes, one who plays the game of soccer to the pinnacle. But when injuries or personal issues come knocking on the doors and prevented players from fulfilling their vast potential, they’re left with no choice than to throw in the towel and retired early from a profession they love wholeheartedly.

Sometimes the average age for the retirement of a professional footballer is around 35. Meanwhile, with the ways some players take good care of themselves, just like we’ve seen with ‘Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ many football stars have actually managed to play professionally beyond that age.

However, some are not that blessed with the longevity of the aforementioned players which in the end made them retire in their mid 30’s and sometimes earlier than that because of the pressure of the game and injuries which takes a toll at some point in time their career.

During a period of bad injuries, some players do manage to push on, perhaps they could actually come out of the injury and pick up from where they left their career before injuries set in. More often than not when they found out that injuries or personal issues like health challenges which they’re battling won’t enable them to get back into the top shape needed for them to survive as a professional footballer, they retire early.

Today, we will look at football stars who have gone into early retirement due to injuries, health challenges, or some other things.

Andrea Schurrle – (Germany, Retired Age 29) & Sebastian Deisler – (Germany, Retired Age 27)

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

For every football enthusiasts who saw the formal Borrusia Dortmund star graced the pitch at the World Cup in 2014, could actually say one or two things about the German. Although Schurrle may not be a player with a lot of skill set like the Neymar of this world, he’s definitely one of the players that is very efficient on the field of play and in front of goal.

Schurrle played an important role in the Die Mannschaft quest in winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where he scored two goals in the famous 7-1 massacre in the semi-final over the host country in front of their home fans.

The German forward didn’t only don the Die Mannschaft white and black jersey, he also played for some of the finest clubs in Europe starting from his home country Germany, where he played with Bayern Leverkusen, Mainz, Wolfsburg, and Dortmund, he also had a stint with Chelsea, loan spell with Fulham from his parent club in Germany before eventually moving to Russia with Spartak Moscow.

When talking about some of the fittest players, the German forward cannot lay claim to that assertion, due to his track record of injuries which in one way or the other has really affected his career, maybe all of that cumulated into his decision to early retirement from football at age 29. The age expected of a footballer to be at his peak, having described some of his struggles with emotional well-being, he canceled the remainder of his contract with Dortmund and retired from the game last month.

  • Sebastian Deisler

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

Even if every football team in the whole of Europe doesn’t know the kind of quality Deisler possesses, Die Mannschaft old adversaries the ‘Three Lions‘ of England can attest to his quality, which they saw a bit of when England traveled to Germany to face the German national team in a World Cup qualifying match. Within six minutes into the game, the former Hertha Berlin midfielder came to fore, when he conjured a sublime pass into the defense of England which was nodded down by Oliver Neuville for the lanky Carsten Jancker to put Germany ahead in the match which they eventually lost.

“I no longer have any real faith in my knee, it’s been an ordeal, I can no longer play with the right level of enjoyment and I don’t do anything by halves”.

This statement by Deisler reflects and depicts how well he fought hard against physical, mental injuries, and rejection by the people close to him, all of this put together were the reason why the talented midfielder called it quit early in football at the age 27 when he announced his retirement from the game.

The sad tale of his unfulfilled glimpses of talent which he showed the whole of Germany right from his tender age still baffles some of Die Mannschaft legends who saw him play, such as Frank Beckenbauer and Lothar Mattheus. Despite making more than 50 appearances for the Bavarian, his knee couldn’t take him far in the game of football in other to show the world his bundle of talent, as such he was forced to early retirement in 2007 due to the terrible reoccurring knee injury, a decision that hit the football world like an electric shock.

Jamie Carragher – (England, Retired Age 29) & Alan Shearer (England, Retired Age 29)

Jamie Carragher may not be in the mold of defenders like Paolo Maldini, Alexandro Nesta, Jaap Stam in terms of quality and defensive skill set, but the Liverpool legend is also one of best if not the finest in his days. Carragher spent over 17 years donning the Liverpool jersey which made him one of the revered players in the history of Liverpool and a one-club man with over 750 appearances for the Kop.

He won the Champions League final in 2005, a match the media term the Istanbul Miracle, where Liverpool defeated Italian giant AC Milan in an unexpected fashion. Carragher international career wasn’t really a fantastic one, as he only made do with few appearances for the Three Lions, he announced his retirement at the age 29 when he’s expected to be hitting the peak of his career due to frustration and lack of playing time under Steve McClaren.

  • Alan Shearer

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

Another great legend of the round leather game who hung the boot early is the Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who called it quit at age 29. The prolific goalscorer retired from the game in 2000 following the Three Lions disastrous performance at the Euros and some couple of bad injuries which he already hinted in the build-up to the Euros.

Shearer’s career with the English national team lasted much longer and produced great moments likewise with his club career at Blackburn and Newcastle United where he’s well respected and admired. He had over 63 appearances for England and scored 30 goals in his international career with the Three Lions.

Carlos Roa – (Argentina, Retired Age 29) & Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan, Retired Age 29)

Carlos Roa will always be remembered for his excellent and mouthwatering performances in between the stick for Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France, specifically in the penalty shootout against England in the knockout phase where he played a vital role in helping the Albiceleste to qualified to the next face of the competition.

Every professional footballer always has their reasons when they feel or choose to draw the curtain on their career, to some it could be old age which is considered a ripe age for retirement, injury, health challenges, or a desire to spend quality time with their family.

But in Roa’s case, he decided to draw the curtain on his career in his prime because he was convinced that the world was going to end at the very moment the new millennium started, weird right? Before his retirement, he helped Real Mallorca in winning the Supercup and reached the final of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, after announcing his retirement in 1999 he focused on his religion as he awaits the imminent end of the world.

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  • Hidetoshi Nakata

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

One of Asian most revered and renowned football star Nakata draws the curtain on his career at the age where he’s expected to be knocking on the peak of the game. The Japanese legend revealed that he choose to retire from the game because he feels day after day he realized that football has become a big business, and according to Nakata

“I could feel that the team was playing just for money and not for the sake of having fun, I always felt that a team was like a big family, but it’s stopped being like that, I was sad that’s why I stopped at only 29”.

The former Perugia, Roma, Bologna, and Parma player call it quit on his professional career despite still having a year left on his contract with Fiorentina, admitting specifically that he fell out of love with the game in 2006.  Before Nakata retired he was a key figure for both country and the clubs he donned their jerseys, he represented for the ‘Samurai Blue’  77 times, while his club’s appearances come with over 358 games, 53 goals and a total of 5 trophies.

Paul Scholes – (England, Retired Age 29) & Ryan Mason – (England, Retired Age 27)

I do regret leaving England so soon“. Those were the words of Paul Scholes when talking to the media, he even went further in his statement that he retired too early from the national team before focusing deeply on his United career. The former Manchester United midfield maestro throws in the towel on his international career in 2004 at the age that is considered not too ripe to call it a day after the Three Lions were dumped out of the Euros by Portugal.

The ‘English Xavi’ as some football fans usually called him, said his form in the last 20 or 30 caps for the Three Lions wasn’t good enough. During this period former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and now Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard were in great form, as he had to compete with the duo at the middle. And more often Scholes had to play from the wing, the former Manchester United midfielder said he retired due to personal choice and not because he wasn’t playing centrally.

  • Ryan Mason

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

January 2017 will always be a bad day to remember for Ryan Mason anytime he looked back on his professional career as a footballer. The Hull midfielder Ryan was forced to retire due to a head injury suffered in January 2017. Mason suffered a fractured skull in a collision with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill during a game at Stamford Bridge.

Mason promising career came to an early, and after undergoing a successful operation on his fractured skull, he went through rehabilitation in the whole of 2017, and in early 2018 it was confirmed that due to risks associated with the extent of his injury, Mason had to retire from professional football at age 27, which is the right age for a professional footballer to blossom into the peak of their career.

David Bentley – (England, Retired Age 29) & Ruben De La Red – (Spain, Retired Age 25) George Best (England, Retired 26)

As a football devotee, if you saw Bentley donned the jersey of Blackburn Rovers in 2012, you could easily say that he was a talented footballer that would go on to play for a top team. As such he joined Tottenham where he failed to live up to the form that saw the London side signed him for £17 million, and he eventually lost his place in the squad.

In 2013, when his contract with Tottenham Hotspur expired, some media outlets believed it won’t take long before a decent team snatches him on a free transfer. Unfortunately, he spent a year without getting a club who still trusts his ability, as such in 2014 at age 29 he called it quit on his professional career.

  • Ruben De La Red

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

A very serious weak heart problem came like a thief in the night to rob off the young Spaniard of his professional career in 2008. De La Red was an intelligent creative midfielder who burst into the scene after graduating from La Fabrica, in Madrid, where he caught the attention of every football fans in Madrid and Spain at large. His loan move to Getafe further exposed what he could actually do with the ball to the rest of the football world.

The talented midfielder’s career was dealt with a painful blow following his return from Getafe in 2008 where he dazzled and shone like a million stars. De La Red suffered a serious heart condition in a match for Los Merengues where he fainted due to the pressure of the game, with that De La Red’s condition resulted in his early retirement from the game of football at age 25, a decent age to rise to the top.

  • George Best

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

The Northern Irish legend originally retired from the game too early. Spending most of his club career at Old Trafford (Manchester United). George Best is a skillful dribbler, and he’s regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1968 and came sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. He received lots of plaudits for his playing style, which combined pace, skill, balance, feints, two-footedness, goalscoring, and the ability to get past defenders as one of the finest footballers of his generation. He did make a comeback but never reached the heights he had previously been at.

Brazilian legend Pele had even called him the best player in the world. Some of the many clubs later in his career included Fulham, Bournemouth, Hibernian, and many more across the world including the United States.


Gueida Fofana – (France, Retired Age 25) & Alvaro Dominguez – (Spain, Retired Age 27)

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

Injuries and footballers are one strong bond that can’t be separated while still very much active playing as a professional. When an injury keeps reoccurring it hinders the progress of footballers made them draw the curtain on their careers early. The evil enemy called ‘injury’ to players also happens to former U21 France International Fofana whose professional career was on a great trajectory with Lyon before he retired.

The energetic and rock-solid midfielder was sidelined for more than two years due to ‘Hyaline Cartilage & a Malleolar Injury‘, before then the Frenchman has been very instrumental for Lyon at a very young age. After six years with the former Ligue 1, Champions, Fofana shockingly announced his retirement from football, saying his persistent injury problems with his ankle resulted in him drawing the curtain when he was starting to reach his peak.

  • Alvaro Dominguez

Another fantastic player that was dealt a huge blow by the enemy called injury is Alvaro Dominguez. The Spaniard had a stint with the two Madrid clubs at youth level, before going on to play for the Atletico Madrid senior team where he proved himself to be a rock-solid defender during his time in Spain. Following his impressive performances for the Rojiblancos, he sealed a move to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach and went on to spend many fantastic years with the German side.

Dominguez’s career came to an early end when he was just starting to reach his peak, he shocked the world of football when he announced his retirement at age 27, due to a chronic back problems which didn’t allow the Spaniard to play the game he loves, as such he had to step out from the game of football in 2016 at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Stiliyan Petrov – (Bulgaria, Retired Age 27) & Dean Ashton – (England, Retired Age 26)

For every football aficionados who saw the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and colleagues played for Aston Villa and also saw Martin O’Neal dished out instructions from the sideline. Then the former Bulgaria captain shouldn’t be a strange name to the ears, Petrov was considered a club legend at Aston Villa by the fans because of his love and great devotion for the club during his playing days, but in 2013 he received a piece of bad news when he was diagnosed with ‘Leukemia’ known as cancer of the blood.

Petrov captained Aston Villa and made close to 200 appearances for Villa, who stood by him throughout his difficult time in his career till he recovered from the disease and named him their youth coach. He retired from the game due to the lack of top-level fitness and passion for football, the fans favorite Petrov could’ve played for many years at the top level had he not suffered such horrible disease like Leukemia.

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  • Dean Ashton

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

Dean Ashton was also another talented player who couldn’t further his career due to injury, he was once considered as one of the England’s promising forward because of how prolific he was in front of goal and because of his amazing goal scoring record in just a few time in his career. Ashton stint with West Ham United comes with 15 goals in 45 appearances.

Following his dream call up to the national team, every hope of him getting to fulfill his dream crumbled when he suffered a horrible ankle injury, which he didn’t recover from after many attempts and treatments. With that he announced his retirement at the tender age of 26 when he was looking to be knocking on the peak of his career, truth be told the injury was very cruel to the promising career of Ashton.

Fabrice Muamba – (Congo, Retired Age 24) & Sam Hutchinson – (England, Retired Age 21)

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

An FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur will always be a match the Congolese midfielder will forever remember in his career. Muamba made over 100 appearances for Bolton Wanderers and looked promising for Bolton before he shockingly collapsed during the match, as he was discovered to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Muamba retired from football following his recovery from cardiac arrest, because of his fragile heart condition. He couldn’t continue his footballing career which ended prematurely, but then he was very grateful to have played at the top level of his professional career for Bolton Wanderers.

  • Sam Hutchinson

Early Retirement: Top 16 Football Stars Who Throw In The Towel Early

Promising Chelsea’s defender Hutchinson was also forced to retire because of a chronic knee injury, which deprived him of fulfilling his promising career. Hutchinson made four appearances for the first team under Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea when he got his first senior debut at age 18 against Everton.

Hutchinson announced his retirement in 2010 due to his reoccurring knee injury, and after his retirement, he was offered a role as a ‘Player Mentor’ helping the development of young players from Chelsea’s academy. Had it been he didn’t suffer such injury, perhaps he could have been one of the best English players.




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7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players



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 +)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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.

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  • Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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.

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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)

7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players

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.


Honorable Mentions

    • 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







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Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise



Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling 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.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

UCL- Round of 16 Second Leg – Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany – March 9, 2021 Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring.

“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.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

Erling Haaland (L) and Dominik Szoboszlai (R) both of FC Salzburg celebrate after the champions league group E match between FC Salzburg and KRC Genk at Salzburg Stadion on September 17, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Andreas Schaad/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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.

READ ALSO: Fall From Grace: Bolton Wanderers Steep Decline

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. –

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.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

Erling Haaland Hits 23-Minute Debut Hat-Trick as Borussia Dortmund Beat Augsburg 5-3

READ ALSO: Mario Gotze: The Making, The Decline & Possible Resurgence

Haaland’s Future

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.



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