Erling Haaland disclosed that as a child, he “always watched” Cristiano Ronaldo, and he highlighted a crucial attribute he aimed to emulate from the Al-Nassr star.
Throughout his career, the 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo has undergone significant evolution, transitioning from a typical winger with a tendency to dribble and cut inside from the left to a prolific goalscorer who poses a threat with both feet and his head. Haaland has developed into one of the most lethal goalscorers in modern football, and he acknowledged closely following Ronaldo during his formative years to learn the tricks of the trade.
Erling Haaland experienced challenges in scoring with his head early in his career, achieving a rate of one goal every 11 attempts in his first 182 goals for club and country. However, in recent years, this ratio has significantly improved to one goal in four attempts. Haaland attributed this enhanced heading ability to lessons learned from Cristiano Ronaldo.
While admitting that Ronaldo has been his “main” inspiration he added: “I remember always watching him on YouTube for his movements in the box: He used to make two or three moves before attacking the space he wanted to be in. It’s kind of a duel in that situation with the centre-backs. It is important to time it perfectly. And the post must be good. If you don’t get a good cross, you won’t be able to score with your head.”
Haaland talks about Ronaldo’s movement as a striker
Haaland also revealed that he watched Ronaldo’s movement inside the box and hailed his switch from a wide player to a striker. Speaking to TV2, the young forward said: “How Cristiano moves, and how he has managed to develop his game. You remember when he played in Manchester United and the first years in Real Madrid, to become more of a striker in Real Madrid. It is incredible for him that he manages. But also how he scores the goals. It is the small movements in the box, and being able to deceive the defenders”
In 2023, Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo, both prolific scorers, have collectively netted over 40 goals for club and country. Haaland stands as the leading scorer with an impressive 50 goals, while Ronaldo has contributed 46 strikes for club and country. Notably, 36 of Ronaldo’s goals came for Al-Nassr, and he recently found the back of the net for Portugal in a match against Liechtenstein.