Erling Haaland: Can Manchester City striker become Europe’s most prolific player?
THE records keep tumbling for Erling Haaland in what has been an incredible debut season in English football.
The Manchester City striker has scored 28 goals in 27 league outings so far this season, while hitting 42 goals in all competitions, and is firmly on course to break both records for a Premier League player.
What other scoring records is he closing in on? And just how close is he to becoming the most prolific forward in a season in Europe? BBC Sport takes a look.
Who has the Premier League record?
The record for the most goals in a single Premier League campaign was first set by Andy Cole in the 1993-94 season, when the then Newcastle United striker scored 34 league goals. It was then equalled in the following campaign by Alan Shearer as he helped Blackburn Rovers win the title.
However, both those tallies came when there were 22 teams in the top flight and the season was 42 matches long, and since it was reduced 20 teams and 38 games, no-one has been able to surpass or even equal that total.
The closest anyone has come, and the player who holds the record for the most goals in a 38-game season, is Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who scored 32 goals in 2017-18.
|Premier League hotshots|
|Andy Cole (93-94)||Alan Shearer (94-95)||Mohamed Salah (17-18)||Erling Haaland (22-23)|
|Goals after 27 Premier League games||23||24||23||28|
|End of season total||34||34||32||TBC|
Given Haaland has hit seven goals in his last 11 Premier League games it would not be unreasonable to assume he should manage another four goals in the remaining 11 games to at least equal Salah’s record, and even six more to match Cole and Shearer’s totals.
He is even closer to breaking the record for most goals scored in all competitions for a Premier League player in one season. His 42 goals in 37 matches leaves him just two shy of Salah and Robin van Persie’s tally.
Football, of course, existed long before the Premier League was formed and the record for most goals ever scored in an English top flight season will certainly take some beating, with Dixie Dean scoring 60 goals for Everton in the old First Division in 1927-28.
Overall, Dean scored 63 goals in all competitions, a record that still stands. In the 1986-87 season, Clive Allen scored 49 goals in all competitions for Tottenham, a tally that has still not been beaten 36 years later.
What about in Europe’s top leagues?
Those are the targets to beat in England, but Haaland still has some way to go to become one of the most prolific strikers in a single season in Europe.
Lionel Messi holds the record for most goals both in the league and in all competitions courtesy of a phenomenal 2011-12 season for the Argentina star.
Playing for Barcelona, Messi hit 50 goals in La Liga and 73 overall during that prolific campaign.
That saw him overtake Gerd Muller’s total of 67 goals in all competitions, a record that had stood for 39 years.
Haaland has 42 goals in all competitions and could comfortably join a number of players in passing the half century mark.
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored 50 goals or more in a season on multiple occasions, with Ronaldo’s most prolific campaign coming in 2014-15, when he hit 61 goals in all competitions.
Luis Suarez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski are other notable modern-era half centurions.
Suarez scored 59 goals for Barcelona in 2015-16, with Ibrahimovic hitting 50 in the same season for Paris St-Germain.
Lewandowski’s personal best stands at 55, which he scored for Bayern Munich in 2019-20.
So how many will Haaland get?
In the Premier League, Haaland’s goals-per-game ratio stands at 1.08, so with 11 games left then he could finish with an incredible 40 league goals.
That is something that has only been achieved seven times in the 133-year history of the English top flight, with Jimmy Greaves the last to surpass that mark when he scored 41 goals for Chelsea in 1960-61.
But what about Messi’s record of 73 goals in all competitions? Could he beat that?
With Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, Haaland could have as many as 18 games left this season.
The Norwegian is averaging 1.14 goals per game in all competitions, so if he keeps that up then he could score around 20 more goals this season, which would take his overall tally to 60 goals.
Bar an incredible run of form for the rest of the season – which you can never rule out – Messi’s mark is likely to remain the record but, one year wiser in the Premier League, who knows just what heights Haaland could hit next season. – bbc.com