Ilkay Gundogan explains why ‘Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo are the only comparison’ for Man City sensation Erling Haaland

Cristiano Ronaldo Erling Haaland Lionel MessiGetty/GOAL
  • Norwegian striker joined City in 2022
  • Hit 52 goals in his debut campaign
  • Mentality to match all-time greats

WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian striker was a revelation for City in 2022-23 as they swept their way to a historic Treble. Haaland registered 52 goals across all competitions as Pep Guardiola’s side collected Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles. Gundogan says there are “no limits” to what the 22-year-old frontman can achieve as he boasts the same relentless drive as two all-time greats with 12 Ballons d’Or between them.

WHAT THEY SAID: Gundogan has told The Players’ Tribune of Haaland: “Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when he came here. You see the goals and all the attention that he was getting at Dortmund, and you wonder if he’s going to fit with the group. But when I got to know him, I was so surprised how someone could be that talented and still have the will to be even better every single day. He’s never satisfied. I feel like there are no limits for him. Messi and Ronaldo are the only comparison for the level he could reach.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gundogan has added on Jack Grealish – with the £100 million ($127m) winger coming in for criticism at times due to his antics on and off the pitch: “I just want to say that Jack Grealish is so misunderstood by some of the media. He is one of the nicest guys I’ve met in football. He’s so much fun to be around and so humble and pure. I felt so happy for his success this season, because I know what it’s like to come to a big club for a lot of money, with all that pressure. He worked so hard to get to another level this season, and he was fantastic for us.”

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Erling Haaland Premier League winners' medal Manchester City 2022-23Getty

Jack Grealish Man City Real Madrid Champions League 2022-23Getty Images

Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT? Haaland and Grealish will be back for more with City in 2023-24, but Gundogan is preparing to take on a new challenge as he bids farewell to the Etihad Stadium after seven memorable years and makes his way to La Liga giants Barcelona as a free agent.