It was business as usual for superstar striker Erling Haaland on Wednesday evening as he scored for the 21st time in the Champions League, helping his Borussia Dortmund side to a 2-1 victory at Besiktas.
That number alone might not seem particularly impressive – until you consider that it has taken the Norwegian international just 17 games to reach that tally, meaning he averages over a goal-per-game in European football’s premier club competition.
In fact, per Opta, Haaland achieved the feat in the fewest appearances of any player ever to accomplish it. On average, the prolific youngster has found the net once for every 63 minutes he has played in the tournament.
It’s a frightening ratio, but we really shouldn’t be all that surprised. After all, he announced himself on his debut in the Champions League two years ago today in explosive fashion.
Representing former club Red Bull Salzburg in the opening game of their 2019/20 campaign against Belgian side Genk, the then-19-year-old Haaland showed none of the nerves you might expect from someone of his age making his bow on a high-profile stage.
No, Haaland was at home right away, breaking the deadlock less than two minutes into the match with an authoritative right-foot finish. It was easy to tell how much the strike meant to him as he celebrated wildly in front of his home crowd.
For most, that alone would be the stuff dreams are most of. Haaland, though, isn’t most players. He was on the scoresheet again in the 34th minute, cooly slotting the ball home while one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Then, on the stroke on half-time, Haaland secured the match ball with a neat close-range finish. You can check out the masterclass below.
Haaland would only remain a Salzburg player for a few months longer. His 28 goals in 22 games in all competitions for the Austrian outfit in the early stages of the 19/20 season saw Dortmund more than willing to part with around €20 million to activate his release clause.
Erling Haaland quiz: 20 questions about the Norwegian striker
With a record of a goal every game since making the switch, we reckon the Bundesliga side are pretty satisfied with that particular bit of business.
Now one of the most sought-after players in world football, there is expected to be intense competition for his signature next summer, with an €80 million release clause in his Dortmund contract believed to kick in at the end of the current campaign.
Will Lukaku DESTROY Tottenham? Tottenham vs Chelsea Preview