GOLDEN BOY

Cristiano Ronaldo 'bewitched' Golden Boy Haaland

Ahead of collecting the Golden Boy award, Erling Haaland discussed Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Champions League aspirations.

Haaland 'bewitched' by Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and hoping for same longevity

Erling Haaland lauded "phenomena" Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Borussia Dortmund forward looks to the pair as inspiration for a long, successful career.

Ronaldo and Zlatan inspiration

Haaland is still just 20 but has quickly established himself as one of Europe's top strikers and will collect Tuttosport's Golden Boy award on Monday.

Since joining Dortmund from Salzburg in January, the Norway international has scored 23 times in the Bundesliga - including a hat-trick on his debut against Augsburg - at a rate of one every 74 minutes.

Only Robert Lewandowski (28) and Ronaldo (27) have netted more goals in Europe's 'top five' leagues since that January 18 bow.

Juventus number seven Ronaldo is still among the best players in the world at the age of 35, while Milan's Ibrahimovic, now 39, has 19 goals over the same stretch.

Asked for his thoughts on the Serie A superstars, revealed by father Alf-Inge to be his role models, Haaland told Tuttosport: "Two champions, two phenomena.

"I was bewitched seeing them on TV. They are the idols of many footballers - including me, too.

"They are examples to imitate for the continuity that allows them to remain at the highest level for so many years."

Haaland is out until the new year with a hamstring injury, making his goalscoring return even more impressive, and Dortmund suffered in his absence on Saturday.

A 5-1 home defeat to Stuttgart was the first time BVB had lost in the five league matches they have played without Haaland since his arrival and it cost head coach Lucien Favre his job.

While Dortmund are down in fifth, Haaland has lofty aspirations for the club - including in the Champions League, where he had a joint-high eight goals in 2020.

"Winning the Champions League is obviously a great dream of mine," he said. "I want to win trophies with Dortmund.

"Right now Bayern Munich are the best team in the world and we must try to reach a higher level and beat them. We will try with all our strength."

Transfer speculation will surround Haaland as long as Dortmund are not competing for titles, but he is paying no attention to that.

"I only think about playing hard, training and improving every day," he added.