Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says reports in Spain that Erling Haaland’s contract has a special release clause to join Real Madrid in 2024 are “not true”.
The 22-year-old Norwegian striker spoke after continuing his incredible start to life at City. scoring two goals against Copenhagen In the Champions League, Guardiola denied rumors that Madrid have made an exclusive deal to sign him.
“It’s not true,” said Guardiola. “Real Madrid, or any other team, has not obtained a release clause.
“Do rumors bother me? No, absolutely not. Rumors, and people talking, you can’t control, so we should always be concerned with what we can control.
“The most important thing is that he has adapted [since joining City] really good I have a feeling he’s incredibly happy here, and that’s the most important thing.”
It’s no surprise to see Haaland linked with the Spanish giants given his incredible form at City – he has now scored 19 goals in his first 12 games since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
In Wednesday’s one-sided 5-0 win over Denmark in the latest display of his impressive goalscoring prowess, team-mate Jack Grealish was stunned by Haaland’s performance.
“It’s unbelievable, to be honest,” Grealish told BT Sport. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. For the first and second goals, I was laughing. It always is.
“Their doorman said something to me on the way back. ‘He’s not human!’ ‘can you tell me?’ Hopefully he can carry this form forward and lead us to glory.”
Had it not been for Copenhagen goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, Haaland would have had even more goals to celebrate.
Haaland won with his first touch of the game to open the scoring – a pinpoint finish from Joao Cancelo’s cross – but saw his next two efforts – a stunning header and a powerful finish on the turn – brilliantly stopped.
Naturally, that didn’t faze him, and he was in the right place to slot home after making it 2-0 and saving Sergio Gomez’s long-range shot.
That left Haaland needing one more goal to complete his fourth hat-trick in six home games for City, but Guardiola played a poor game when he was subbed off at the break.
Guardiola said replacing his star striker was not always the plan but, with the game won, his focus shifted to Saturday’s game at home to Southampton.
Haaland agreed with the decision: the next cap can wait.
“I have to be honest with you, what we all want with Erling is the same, which is to win games,” explained Guardiola.
“When he scored those hat-tricks, it was to win games. Of course if he played 45 more minutes, he would have had more chances but he played a lot of minutes, it was 3-0 and he was in control of the game. .
“If it was a tight game, Erling would have continued to play, but it was better to rest and think about Southampton, the team we couldn’t beat last season. We hope we can do it this season.”