Manchester City players have come up with a new nickname for Erling Haaland after the striker’s latest incredible performance.
Haaland scored a remarkable five goals in City’s 7-0 demolition of RB Leipzig on Tuesday, a result that sent City to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for a sixth successive season.
After spurning a couple of chances in the opening stages, Haaland gave City the lead from the penalty spot before adding two more close-range finishes before half-time.
He then scored two more in the second half, with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne scoring either side.
City have not been at their best since the World Cup break, but when their top players are fit and firing, few teams in the world can stop them.
John Stones agreed that sometimes Champions League success can depend on players like Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland delivering. In the case of the latter, he revealed that the 22-year-old has a new nickname.
“I think that’s definitely why they’re here and that’s why they’re playing at arguably the best club in the world, the best team in the world and they do it on the biggest stages,” Stones told reporters after the match.
“As soon as Kevin [de Bruyne] went in on his right foot I knew he was going to put it towards that top corner.
“That’s Kevin’s quality, his power and then Erling in the right spot at the right time – an ‘absolute ball magnet’, I think Jack was calling him in the dressing room after. I get to see it first hand on the pitch and big players turn up on big occasions.”
City supporters couldn’t believe what they were seeing when Haaland scored his fifth goal of the night, something only Lionel Messi had done before in a Champions League knock-out match. Neither could Stones.
“I mean I knew he was good but… I’m so happy for him. I keep writing on the balls, a nice funny message.
“[He’s an] incredible player and I just think he’s going from strength to strength. He’s an even better person for me, which makes it even better. It just shows how happy everyone is for him, how we celebrate our goals. I’m just so pleased for him.”