Haaland has time to win Ballon d'Or: Man City’s Guardiola

AFP , Friday 3 Nov 2023

Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland was happy just to be in the running to win the Ballon d'Or after missing out to Lionel Messi for the coveted prize recognising the world's best player.

Guardiola   Haaland
Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola talks to Manchester City's Erling Haaland after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. Photo: AP


Messi won the award for a record-extending eighth time on Monday after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last season.

Haaland finished second thanks to his 52 goals as Manchester City claimed the treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

The Norwegian, 23, edged out Kylian Mbappe, who became the first man since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final in France's defeat on penalties to Argentina.

Haaland also picked up the Gerd Muller trophy for scoring the most goals in the 2022/23 season.

"I would say that I saw him so happy to be a contender, close to Messi and Mbappe and the rest of the players," said Guardiola.

"Erling has all his career ahead of him, so he has to continue winning and say, 'OK, maybe next season I can be there'.

"This has to be his target but he was really pleased to be there and he seemed really well when he came back."

City players have often missed out on personal accolades despite hoovering up trophies during Guardiola's reign.

But five finished in the top 10 for the Ballon d'Or, with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva joining Haaland.

"It was a good night for Man City," said Guardiola. "Man City were there, present, and that's so important for us because we were never there in the past."

City players and executives were able to attend the glitzy ceremony in Paris in force because the club had a rare midweek off due to their early exit from the League Cup.

Bournemouth could bear the brunt of a full week of preparation for Guardiola's men when they visit the Etihad on Saturday.

Victory would take City back to the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, and extend a club-record 21 consecutive home wins in all competitions.

"We love to play every three days but it's nice to have a break and have one or two days off," said Guardiola.

"It is what it is. We don't complain when we have a lot of games in a row and we don't complain when we have time off."

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