Guardiola Fires Back at Carragher’s Remarks on Haaland’s Ballon d’Or Prospects

By Xorkpe Sosu 5 Min Read

Pep Guardiola responded to critics like Jamie Carragher who have questioned Erling Haaland’s overall game this week.

After Roy Keane labeled Haaland as a ‘League Two’ player in terms of his contribution beyond scoring goals, Carragher joined the debate, calling Haaland the ‘ultimate luxury footballer.’

“If his main goal is to break goalscoring records, he does not need to change anything,” he said in his column for The Telegraph.

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Guardiola Fires Back at Carragher's Remarks on Haaland's Ballon d'Or Prospects"

“If he has serious ambitions to win the Ballon d’Or and play for Real Madrid, he may have a problem. He must add more to his game to make that leap and to seriously challenge his rival to the title of the best player of his generation, Kylian Mbappe.”

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Guardiola defends Haaland

Guardiola, however, doesn’t share this view. He defended his striker, pointing to Haaland’s significant role in City’s five trophies over the past year.

“They can do whatever they want,” Guardiola stated when asked about Carragher and other Roy Keane’s comments.

“The target is not to win the Ballon d’Or, the target is to win Premier Leagues, Champions Leagues, FA Cups, Carabao Cups and he did it,” he said ahead of their clash against Luton Town
“Without him it would not be possible, what we won last season, five titles, without him, no chance, impossible.

“He is a key player for us and he will improve because for his age and his desire, more games, more experience, arrive at the latter stages in the competitions never happened in his career.

The main criticism directed at Haaland after his goalless performance in Madrid was that he didn’t influence the game.

However, this overlooks the fact that he was tightly marked by both Real centre-backs. Guardiola highlighted that Madrid’s tactics inadvertently provided City with more attacking space, enabling them to score three goals.

“We had two central defenders close to him, really close to him, it’s not easy. The most difficult position on the pitch is a striker,” he said.

Guardiola defends Remarks on Haaland's Ballon d'Or Prospects"

“Every player has one player [marking them]. You have two against one with the striker. He has two players and they were so tight and really good defenders. It is the most difficult position.”

“They [pundits] have to understand they have an opinion, I have an opinion. We have an opinion. Doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. If I give an opinion it looks like I want to criticise the pundits.”

“I don’t criticise the pundits. They do their job, I do my job. We don’t have to agree. I give my opinion, we can agree or disagree. It’s as simple as that.”

“So this is his future but the same is not just with Erling, any player even at 33-years-old, you can be better, until you retire, you can be better.”

Haaland had a remarkable debut season at City last year, scoring an impressive 52 goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

While he may not reach such a high tally this season, he remains a key player as the club competes in the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup.

Despite his contributions, the Norwegian has faced criticism, with Roy Keane recently likening him to ‘almost a League Two player’ following a tough game against Arsenal.

At just 23 years old, Haaland is poised to dominate the scoring charts for the next decade, alongside fellow superstar Mbappe.

The pair are considered future winners of the Ballon d’Or, an award that has been largely dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years.

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