One of the best strikers in the world is, without a doubt, Erling Haaland. The Norwegian superstar has one of the best goal-scoring statistics. But why is Haaland so good?
Haaland is so good because of his speed and movement, superb finishing and shooting, strength and fitness, and body type. These traits enable him to put up impressive statistics, making him one of the best strikers in the world.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at all these traits and why they make Haaland so good. In addition, we look at whether Haaland is the best striker in the world based on statistics.
Since signing for Borussia Dortmund as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in 2020, Erling Haaland has excited soccer fans worldwide.
Standing at a staggering 6ft 5in (1.95m) and being able to move with blistering speed, Haaland really is a sight to behold.
Before moving to Manchester City at only 21 years old, Haaland won the DFB-Pokal (The German domestic cup) with Borussia Dortmund and two Austrian Bundesliga titles with Red Bull Salzburg.
Haaland also won the German Bundesliga Player Of The Season award in 2021 and was featured in the Bundesliga Team Of The Season for two straight years.
Many people are already saying that Haaland will become the best striker in the world, with some even claiming that he already is.
But what is it that actually makes Haaland so good? And is he the greatest striker in the world?
Below I will explain the main traits of why Haaland is so good.
Haaland has always been a prolific goalscorer ever since he was a teenager. At only 18 years old, Haaland scored 29 goals in 27 games while playing for Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.
After moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, Haaland's goalscoring didn't slow down.
Haaland scored 85 goals in 88 games while playing for Dortmund. This averages to 0.96 goals per game.
Of those 85 goals, 15 were scored against elite competition in the UEFA Champions League. 15 goals in 13 games, to be precise.
Let's compare it to some of the world's best goalscorers to consider just how impressive Haaland's goals per game average is.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest goal scorer in history. However, his average goals per game over his career is 0.72 compared to Haaland's 0.96.
Haaland also has a higher goal average than Lionel Messi, who sits at 0.78 goals per game, and Robert Lewandowski, who has an average of 0.73.
As you can see, if Haaland keeps going at his current rate, he will surely become the highest goal scorer of all time.
But how is it that Haaland gets so many goals?
Haaland's shooting technique is a big part of how he is able to score so many goals and why he is so good.
Over 30% of Haaland's goals have been scored in the top half of the goal.
The majority of goals scored in this way usually come from outside of the penalty box. However, this is a rarity for Haaland, who has only scored three times from this distance.
This means that when Haaland shoots, the ball is going in an upwards trajectory at a breakneck speed to hit the top half of the goal from that close.
Haaland is able to achieve this by striking the lower half of the ball with huge power, therefore creating an incredibly fast and powerful backspin on his shot.
This makes it almost impossible for the goalkeeper to deny a goal when the ball is hit in such a way.
The way Haaland shoots is not the only reason he can get so many goals.
For a man of his size, Haaland can move surprisingly quickly. This is how he finds himself in a position to score so many goals.
Erling Haaland's highest measured top speed is 22.39 mph (36.04 km/h). Haaland also nearly broke a world record when he covered 60 meters in 6.64 seconds.
While playing for Borussia Dortmund in February 2020, Haaland clocked one of the fastest runs of his career in a game against PSG.
After defending a corner kick, Haaland went on the counter-attack and sprinted up the pitch at a blistering pace.
While his teammates made their way up the pitch with the ball, Haaland sprinted nearly the entire pitch length to make himself available for a killer pass.
It was revealed that Haaland had covered 60 meters in 6.64 seconds. This works out at an average speed of 20.21 mph (32.5 km/h).
What's even more impressive is that Haaland didn't even reach his top speed during that sprint.
His top speed came one year later during a much shorter sprint, where he recorded a top speed of 22.39 mph (36.04 km/h).
It's not just Haaland's breathtaking speed that puts him in a position to score; it's also his intelligent movement.
Because of Haaland's pace, he knows that he can make up ground on most defenders. With this in mind, he'll often stand just out of sight of the opposition defender so he can sprint past them when his teammate passes the ball.
This is a tactic that the big Norwegian has used time and again to create space for himself, usually leading to a goal.
Suppose you were to watch Haaland in a game. In that case, you'll notice that most of his attacking runs start from way behind the defender.
This is completely the opposite of how most strikers like to play, with most preferring to stay in line with the defender (staying onside) to give themselves as much advantage as possible before the pass is played.
Haaland, however, knows that his speed and strength will be enough to take him past the defender, so he prefers to stay on the defender's blindside and take them by surprise.
How is it that a player the size of Haaland is able to move so fast, though?
(Click here to find out more about how fast Haaland is)
Haaland's body type resembles a basketball player more than a soccer player.
Therefore, you would probably expect him to be slow across larger soccer fields. As we can see, this is not the case.
The size of Haaland actually affects the way he runs. Many people have made jokes about how funny Haaland looks when he runs, but there's a reason he does this.
Watching Haaland run, you'll notice that he appears to duck his head down. The reason he's doing this is to reduce his height, therefore giving himself a lower center of gravity and quicker acceleration.
This unique running style makes the Norwegian run much faster as a result.
Haaland's body type also means he's taking larger strides than the average player. He's often been seen covering the same amount of grass as an opposition player in only half the strides.
Haaland's massive amount of power in his legs may also be why he runs so fast. The only comparable player is maybe Romelu Lukaku.
Both of these players are very large and powerful.
Yet they both use that power to their advantage when it comes to pushing off from the ground when they run.
Haaland can not only run past defenders at speed but also hold them off with his incredible strength.
Haaland was seen as a skinny kid when he first started playing soccer. Then, in the space of 15 months, he completely transformed his body into the powerhouse we see today.
Haaland met his former fitness coach - Borre Steenslid, while he was a youngster at the Norwegian team, Molde.
Steenslid saw Haaland as a project and quickly helped the player gain over 26lbs (12 kg) of muscle in just 15 months with a new diet and exercise plan.
His former trainer said:
"We built his muscle from scratch. He was always the closest to the buffet and his plate was literally a mountain of food"
Haaland is said to take inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo regarding his diet. Seeing Ronaldo still playing at the top of his game at an older age has certainly inspired Haaland.
Just like Ronaldo, Haaland is said to eat six meals a day. Most of his meals are packed with protein, featuring mostly chicken and pasta.
Haaland is also well known for keeping healthy through meditation and yoga. This is reflected in Haaland's famous yoga celebration that he sometimes does after scoring.
Although Haaland is mainly known for his goal-scoring, he's actually a pretty good passer of the ball as well.
Over his career, Haaland has contributed 36 assists for club and country. He averages 15.1 passes per game with a success rate of 69.4%.
Haaland specializes in using his speed to get to the ball before the opposition defender, meaning he has less need to dribble past them.
However, Haaland can still dribble the ball very well if he needs to. Haaland has an average of 0.5 successful dribbles per game.
Note that when we say successful dribble, this means a run with the ball where the attacker actually takes the ball past a defender while retaining possession.
Haaland's average is way behind some of the best dribblers in the world, such as Lionel Messi. He has a successful dribble average of 4.5 per game.
Haaland isn't too far behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who has a successful dribble average of 1.7 per game.
Haaland's determination to score at any cost and how he uses his freakish speed and strength to do so is the main reason he is so special.
Ever since he made his debut for Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has felt like a one-of-a-kind special athlete.
In his first ever game for Dortmund, a 19-year-old Haaland would come off the bench to break a club record. With Dortmund losing 3-1 to FC Augsburg, Haaland was brought on from the bench to make his debut for his new club.
In a shocking turn of events, Haaland would go on to score a hat trick with his first three shots on target, leading his team to an astonishing comeback victory.
Haaland became the first Dortmund player to score a hat trick on his debut since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2013.
Twenty-three minutes into his Dortmund career and Haaland had already scored three goals. He has felt like a truly special player ever since.
Of course, his imposing strength and unexpected speed from a player of his size are also part of why he feels so special.
There may be other strikers who have some of these same attributes. Still, Haaland is the only one who's successfully put it all together in this way.
What's really special is that he's achieved all of this at such a young age, meaning he could become one of the greatest of all time.
Since he joined Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland has had an incredible average of 0.96 goals per game. This stat alone may be enough to argue that he is the best striker in the world.
Let's compare his statistics with some of the world's other best strikers.
Since 2020, Haaland has scored 85 goals. Only two players have scored more goals in the same period. Mbappé has 89 goals, while Lewandowski has 122 goals.
This shows that there is definitely an argument to be made that either Lewandowski or Mbappé could be classed as the best striker in the world.
However, it's worth pointing out that both players have played over 100 games in this period. In comparison, Haaland has only played in 88 games.
This means Haaland still has a greater goal per game average (0.96) than both Mbappé (0.86) and Lewandowski (0.73).
Cristiano Ronaldo can also be included in this conversation as he is the all-time highest goal scorer with 815 goals. However, Haaland still beats Ronaldo (0.72) when it comes to goals per game.
In summary, Haaland gets more goals when he plays, but Ronaldo, Mbappé, and Lewandowski are all less injury prone, meaning they score more goals overall.
If Haaland can stay fit while playing for Manchester City and keeps scoring at his current rate, then there's a high chance that he could be considered the best striker in the world.
As always, the person you think is the best ever is completely subjective and will vary from person to person.
The reason Haaland is so good is because of his unmatched shooting, his incredible speed, and his impressive strength.
Ever since Haaland started playing professional soccer, he has been a scoring machine with a goal per game average that no other player can match.
Whether he is currently the best striker in the world depends on person to person, but there is no denying that he has the potential to become the greatest ever.