Men's Team

Haaland can be a future Ballon d'Or contender, says Gundogan

City captain Ilkay Gundogan believes that Etihad team-mate Erling Haaland has all the qualities necessary to be ranked as a potential future Ballon d’Or winner.

Despite only being 22 years of age, Haaland – who joined City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer – has established himself as one of the most exciting and talented strikers in world football.

Having arrived at the Etihad armed with an already formidable record first with Molde in his native Norway, and then at RB Salzburg and Dortmund, Haaland has enjoyed a quite remarkable start to life at City.

He has already scored 20 goals in his first two months at the Club, creating a host of records along the way, including scoring hat-tricks in three successive Premier League games at the Etihad.

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Haaland was ranked 10th in the 2022 Ballon d’Or ratings at this week’s ceremony held in Paris, with Kevin De Bruyne finishing third and Karim Benzema lifting the prize.

And, as far as he is concerned, Gundogan says the hunger and desire which underpin Haaland’s approach to the game, means he will only get better – further increasing the prospect of him one day potentially lifting the coveted Ballon d’Or award.

“There is quality - everyone can see it. There is a lot of quality that he already brings. Into our team, into his game,” Gundogan said.

“But also, the way he is dealing with things that are important to him and the mentality, the determination he has on a match day and also in the training sessions in the locker room.

“I think that is something special.

“And on top of that he is humble.

“He knows he has to work hard to get where he is right now and to even get to better places.

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“I’m sure that all this together will just improve him more and more… not just this season but in the next few years.

“And it will make him an incredible player

“He is already one but he will just get better and I think this will increase his chances to win the Ballon d'Or.”

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