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How many goals had Messi and Ronaldo scored in the Champions League at Haaland’s age?

Erling Haaland reached another milestone in the Champions League and set a few more records as his stunning start to the season continued against Sevilla.

Haaland in Champions League pursuit of Messi and Ronaldo
David RamosGetty

Almost inevitably, Erling Haaland was on target for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s side put four past a struggling Sevilla in the Champions League. The 22-year-old Norwegian has now bagged 12 goals in seven games since the start of the season and is on course to annihilate several records in his debut season in the Premier League. Haaland is also setting new marks in Europe, having scored a hat-trick on his debut in the competition for RB Salzburg, two for Borussia Dortmund in his first European fixture at the Bundesliga side and now two on his City debut.

In doing so, Haaland became the first player to reach 25 goals in 20 Champions League games to add to his record as the fastest player to reach 20 in the competition, for which he required just 14 appearances. Comparisons with other greats of the competition underline just how prolific the Norwegian is: Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t find the net at all in his first 20 appearances and Leo Messi needed 40 games to reach 20 goals. The Argentinean swiftly reached 25, two games after his 20th and 21st goals came against Stuttgart, putting four past Arsenal just three weeks later. After 20 Champions League appearances, Messi had netted just eight times. It took Karim Benzema 41 appearances in the Champions League to reach 25 goals.

Ronaldo, the competition’s all-time top scorer with 140 goals, required 54 games to reach 20 and 61 to reach Haaland’s mark of 25.

Haaland and Mbappé rivalry to mark generation

Kylian Mbappé, who seems destined with Haaland to contest the new generation’s version of Messi vs Ronaldo, had scored 12 goals after 20 Champions League appearances and required 42 games to reach 25. Haaland is worth a goal every 61.3 minutes in the Champions League. Mbappé has found the net once every 120.3 minutes in 54 Champions League games.

The previous record for the most goals scored in 20 games in Europe’s elite club competition was 16, set by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roberto Soldado. It took the Dutch marksman 30 games to reach that total.

Overall, Messi had scored 80 goals for Barcelona by the time he turned 22. When Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 22nd birthday, he had scored 60 senior career goals, 47 for club and 13 for country. Haaland, who turned 22 in July, has scored 147 senior club goals and a further 20 in 21 appearances for Norway.

The sky’s the limit for Haaland

Messi has 157 appearances in the Champions League to his name, Ronaldo 183. If Haaland continues to score at this rate, and if the Norwegian remains fit, and assuming Manchester City remain in the competition on a permanent basis, if he chalks up 150 appearances, he is on course to score 187 goals.

Those are big ifs, and at some stage defences may well set up with the single purpose of preventing Haaland from getting the ball in front of goal, but it seems at the moment there is little that can prevent the 22-year-old from smashing every record in the book, in record time.


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