Erling Haaland has been lauded by former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney as the “best player in the world” right now, surpassing Lionel Messi.
Despite Rooney’s constant claims that Messi is the finest player, he has ever seen, he says that no one can compete with Haaland right now.
Since joining Manchester City in the summer of last year, the 22-year-old has been on fire. In 42 appearances, he has scored 48 goals, including 32 in 28 Premier League games.
He has been the driving force behind their pursuit of the Premier League title and has been crucial to their advancement to the Champions League semifinals.
What did Wayne Rooney say?
While stating again that Messi is the best, Rooney acknowledged that Haaland is now ahead of everyone and that the Norwegian “takes his breath away.”
Rooney spoke (via PSG Talk) in an interview with The Times,
“Erling Haaland is the best footballer in the world right now. Lionel Messi is the greatest but, at this moment, nobody is playing better than a striker who — even though I broke records in that position myself — takes my breath away with the levels he’s reaching.”
“He’s the best in the world because of the numbers he’s posting, the performances he’s putting in, and the mentality he shows.”
True or false from Wayne Rooney? 👑 pic.twitter.com/ruLxYLUktz
— GOAL (@goal) April 23, 2023
Haaland has six hat-tricks, including a five-goal haul against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, and is on track to win the Premier League Golden Boot. Messi, on the other hand, has had a wonderful season with PSG, scoring 20 goals and assisting 19 in 36 games, including 15 goals and as many assists in Ligue 1.
Haaland or Messi? Who is closer to winning the Balon d’Or?
Erling Haaland may be scoring goals at a blazing path, but he is still waiting for a first trophy. Manchester City remains in second place in the Premier League and will face Manchester United in the FA Cup final and Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. They could go on to win the treble, becoming the second English team to do so since Manchester United’s historic 1999 treble winning season.
Unless the Citizens win some big trophies, Lionel Messi will maintain his lead in the Ballon d’Or standings above Haaland, primarily due to his World Cup victory in December last year. The Argentine won the Golden Ball of the tournament and was crucial in all of their games.
At the Qatar showpiece, the PSG star led Argentina to their third triumph in the competition, and now, with the Ligue 1 title practically sealed up, he’s on track to win a historic eighth Ballon d’Or.
At this point, The former Dortmund star appears to be the only player who can stop him, but his prospects of a first Balon d’Or are dependent on where City finishes the season, namely in the league and in Europe. Karim Benzema is also a strong candidate if he manages to win the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey. But the Frenchman has missed lots of games this season and has also practically lost the league.