Erling HaalandNorwegian Footballer
Erling Haaland is a Norwegian footballer who plays as a forward for Borussia Dortmund.
• Date of birth: 21 July 2000
• Age: 21 years old
• Place of birth: Leeds, England
• Nationality: Norwegian
• Position: Forward
• Height: 194cm / 6ft 4ins
• Weight: 87kg / 191lbs
• Wages: £130,000 per week (Unconfirmed)
The 21-year-old forward is widely considered to be one of European football’s most exciting attacking talents.
He began his career at Norwegian club Bryne FK before moving to Molde. He then sealed a switch to Red Bull Salzburg in 2018, before leaving Austria to sign for German side Borussia Dortmund in December 2019.
Haaland’s prolific form in front of goal has propelled him to star status in recent years, with the forward having netted 27 goals in 28 games in the 2020-21 Bundesliga season.
Haaland represented Norway at multiple youth levels and made his senior debut for his country in 2019.
So, what do you know about Haaland’s early life and his journey to becoming the talented forward he is today? This is his story.
Early Life, Parents And Upbringing
Erling Haaland (full name: Erling Braut Haaland) was born on 21 July 2000 in Leeds, England. At the time, his father, Alf-Inge Haaland – a tough-tackling midfielder – was playing for Leeds United in the Premier League.
Erling moved to Norway with his family when he was three years old in 2004 following his father’s retirement from playing football.
Haaland’s potential as a player was evident from an early age, and the young footballer joined Norwegian side Bryne, where he was fast-tracked through the club’s youth teams.
Despite moving to Norway at such a young age, Haaland clearly still has some affinity to the city in which he was born – Leeds in England. Speaking in an interview in February 2017, Haaland admitted that he would love to play for Leeds United in the Premier League one day.
“I want to be the best possible,” Haaland said. “The dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds. In addition, the goal is to become a better player than Dad was. I hope to be able to get more international matches than he did.”
Bryne and Molde
Haaland joined his hometown club Byrne’s academy when he was just five years old. He enjoyed a steady rise through the youth teams at Bryne and was handed his first opportunity in the club’s first team when he was just 15 years old – after his youth-team boss took over first-team affairs.
Erling was initially deployed as a winger but gradually began to gain more opportunities in his preferred central striking role.
Bryne coach Alf Ingve Berntsen was immediately impressed by what he saw from Haaland despite his young age.
“I saw Erling for the first time when he was five when he joined indoor training with a group one year older,” Berntsen explains. “His first two touches led to goals. He was very, very good from the first moment, even though he hadn’t played in the club before.
“He started playing in his own year group, but because he was so much better than the others, we immediately pulled him up to Under-6. In 2005, the club built a grass-covered indoor soccer pitch that was always open during the weekends. Erling and around 20 others always met there on weekends and played for hours.
“He was a little smaller than his opponents because he was a year younger. But even if his opponent was significantly taller, he kept scoring goals. When he was 11 or 12, we knew he would go far. We already knew back then that he had what it takes to be a youth international.”
After having made a total of 16 senior appearances for Bryne, Haaland ended up signing for fellow Norwegian side Molde in February 2017.
Haaland made his debut for Molde on 26 April 2017, in a Norwegian Cup match against Volda TI, and he scored in a 3-2 victory.
He scored his first league goal for Molde on 1 June 2017 against Sarpsborg 08 after coming on as a substitute. He went on to net a total of 14 league goals for Molde in 39 games before a move to Red Bull Salzburg beckoned.
Red Bull Salzburg
Haaland’s impressive performances for Molde had not gone unnoticed, and he ended up completing a move to sign for Austrian side RB Salzburg on 1 January 2019.
The deal was agreed a number of months earlier, with RB Salzburg announcing the move on 19 August 2018 and Haaland agreeing a five-year contract. It is understood that Leeds United had also made an offer for Haaland before the transfer to RB Salzburg was confirmed.
Haaland made his debut for RB Salzburg on 17 February 2019, and scored his first goal for the Austrian club in a 2-1 Austrian Bundesliga win over LASK on 12 May.
He helped Salzburg to win the Austrian Bundesliga title in the 2018–19 campaign.
His former Red Bull Salzburg team-mate Maximilian Wober had nothing but good things to say of Haaland when recalling their time together at the Austrian club.
“He is an absolute top professional,” Wober said. “While we are playing cards on trips away, you can only see him reading some scientific articles on how he can improve his sleep or diet. He is always looking for the smallest details that he can improve to take another step forward.
“He is the same guy I met before his eight Champions League goals in the summer. He’s crazy insane, but that’s what makes him so good.”
In the 2019-20 season, Haaland began to find his form in front of goal for Salzburg, and he scored an impressive 28 goals in 22 games in all competitions for the Austrian side. That tally included an impressive return of eight Champions League goals in six outings.
His prolific form in front of goal began to earn him new admirers from across Europe, and Haaland was on the move again in January 2020.
Borussia Dortmund confirmed the signing of Haaland from RB Salzburg on 29 December 2019, with the Norwegian attacker signing an initial four-and-a-half year contract with the German club.
He made his debut for Dortmund away at FC Augsburg on 18 January 2020, and he scored an incredible hat-trick to help his side to claim a thrilling 5-3 win.
Haaland quickly held down a regular spot in the first team at Dortmund and his prolific form in front of goal also continued.
He scored a total of 13 goals and made two assists in 15 Bundesliga games in his first half-season with the German club.
The Norway international continued his superb form in front of goal in the 2020-21 season, with Haaland netting a remarkable 27 goals and making six assists in 28 Bundesliga appearances. He also scored 10 goals and made two assists in eight Champions League games.
Haaland netted three goals in four games to help Dortmund win the DFB-Pokal title in the 2020-21 season.
He ended up as the Champions League’s top goal-scorer for the 2020-21 campaign, and was also named as the Bundesliga player of the season following his electric performances in front of goal.
Haaland has previously revealed that he looks up to Real Madrid and Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo as one of his footballing heroes, as well as former Swansea City star Michu.
“I have a lot [of idols] and Michu is one of them,” said Haaland in 2020. “He was amazing at Swansea. I also love Cristiano Ronaldo and what he has done in the past 10 years. I love to observe, especially strikers because I am one.”
Haaland represents Norway and has lined up for them at various different levels. He was part of the Norway Under-17 side who won the Syrenka Cup in 2016.
He made his senior international debut for Norway on 5 September 2019 in a Euro 2020 qualifying game against Malta.
He scored his first senior international goal for Norway in a 1–2 loss to Austria in the 2020–21 Uefa Nations League B on 4 September 2020.
Life Away From The Pitch
Haaland has revealed that he enjoys meditation, and his trademark goal celebration mimics the “zen” pose.
“I really enjoy meditation,” Haaland replied in 2020 when asked about the meaning behind his trademark celebration. “It makes feel calm and gives me tranquillity. This is why I sometimes celebrate like that when I score.”
What Have Others Said?
Alf-Inge Haaland on his son’s development, speaking in 2020: “Erling has been very lucky with good coaches and team-mates. He is still learning. He loves to score goals but has also improved a lot in build-up play. It’s not one specific moment, but a lot of hard work from him and also having a career plan for him regarding clubs where young players will get the chance to play. Playing time is the most important thing for him.”
Norwegian journalist Nils Henrik Smith on Haaland’s full debut for Bryne: “I was there for his starting debut. He was quick and had a good turn of pace; he made intelligent runs. He was tall but gangly at that stage. He didn’t have the muscle he has now – but you could see there was raw talent there.”