Man City boss Pep Guardiola compared Haaland to Messi and Ronaldo

After Manchester City’s 4-1 Premier League victory against Southampton on Saturday, Pep Guardiola compared Erling Haaland to Cristiano Ronaldo but emphasized that Lionel Messi was a better player than both of them.

He also acknowledged that his striker still has a long way to go to achieve the same level of success as these two stars.

Manchester City secured a significant victory away from home as they attempted to reduce the gap with the current league leader, Arsenal.

Just before half-time, they took the lead when Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found the head of Erling Haaland, who redirected the ball into the goal beyond Gavin Bazunu.

The second half saw a flurry of goals as Jack Grealish extended the visitors’ lead, and Haaland scored an incredible bicycle kick to add to his tally.

Moussa Djenepo got one back for the Saints, but Julian Alvarez converted a spot-kick to complete the scoring.

Guardiola: Haaland similar to Ronaldo, Messi is a different player

Haaland’s brace took his league tally for the season to 30, just five goals short of breaking Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a single season.

The Norwegian was hailed as “insane” by his teammate De Bruyne, while Shearer called his second goal and goalscoring record this season, “unbelievable” on Match of the Day.

And even bigger praise came from his boss, with Guardiola comparing him to Messi and Ronaldo.

“We have lived two incredible decades with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but he is on that level,” he toldBBC Sport.

But speaking in his press conference after the game, Guardiola elaborated on his comments, saying that while Haaland was similar to the Portuguese striker, the PSG winger was a different player.

“He’s quite similar in terms of Cristiano but Messi is the more complete player,” the boss said, as quoted bySky Sports. “Messi can play wherever while Cristiano and Erling are machines. Erling knows those two guys dominated over two decades not just one or two seasons, winning titles and doing everything.

“Football is a better place for Cristiano and Messi for what they have done for our business, the traction of these two guys competing at the big clubs.

“Erling is arriving in the toughest league in the world. I can talk as I’ve been in other leagues and doing what he has done is remarkable.

“Erling is here for these types of games, it was a little bit hard, but he has the ability from an incredible assist from Kevin [De Bruyne] to break the game.”

Haaland needs to work to hit the heights

Haaland at 22 has better goals per ninety minutes record than both Messi and Ronaldo at the same age, scoring 1.19 goals every game (viaFBref).

Ronaldo managed 1.02 every game at United, while Messi registered 1.09 at Barcelona.

But even though he has surpassed them both for output at the same age, Guardiola believes that Haaland needs to work even harder to get to the same level.

“He is so competitive but to reach the Cristano and Messi levels is a lot of work. They don’t get injured. Erling is tall, he’s huge, he needs a lot of care, physios, not just one but a lot of people.

“He has an incredible mindset. His head is in the right place. He lives to be professional. I know his reaction when he misses goals but he’s only frustrated for five minutes. His mindset comes back in the right position and he knows what he has to do.

“He has the same pressure as Messi and Cristiano – when they don’t score for two or three games, people ask what’s happened. The numbers he has at his age are unbelievable.”

Watch: Guardiola on comparisons between Haaland, Ronaldo and Messi

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