Erling Haaland inspired Manchester City’s Premier League title triumph with a record-breaking goal spree fuelled by his voracious appetite for success.
Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving from Borussia Dortmund last year in a £51 million ($63 million) deal that already looks a bargain.
After scoring twice on his top-flight debut at West Ham in August, the 22-year-old striker maintained an astonishing goal pace that left a trail of broken records in his wake en route to clinching the title on Saturday.
He shattered the Premier League’s single-season goal record, netting 36 times in 33 matches to move beyond the 34 scored by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole in the 1990s.
“If you were building a centre-forward from the ground up, Erling is what you would be left with. He’s a goal machine,”Shearer said.
The Norwegian has scored 52 times in all competitions, including one five-goal haul and five other hat-tricks.
While rival managers endure sleepless nights at the prospect of trying to subdue him, Haaland leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence.
Obsessed with staying in peak physical condition, Haaland claims his daily diet of heart, liver, milk and lasagne amounts to a whopping 6,000 calories.
Haaland even wolfed down a tray of nutrition-rich beef liver after scoring in City’s recent win at Everton, declaring the meal “bloody lovely” after fans reacted with surprise to an Instagram post of his dinner.
“People say meat is bad for you but which? The meat you get at McDonald’s? Or the local cow eating grass right over there? I eat the heart and the liver,”Haaland said in a documentary about his move to Manchester.
Haaland has also created a “magic potion” milk smoothie, featuring kale and spinach, that forms a key part of his diet.
Haaland’s father Alfie helps by milking cows back home in Norway and delivering the pints to the striker in Manchester.
There is no detail too small for Haaland to control as he aims to maximise his natural talent.
He installed a cryotherapy chamber in his house to help recover after matches and wears special glasses to reduce the sleep-depriving effects of screens.
Despite his blistering form, there was speculation earlier in the season that Haaland might not be entirely happy after City coach Pep Guardiola admitted the striker was still adapting to the Spaniard’s tactics during an inconsistent spell for his side.
Guardiola’s men won successive league titles playing largely without an attacking focal point and when Arsenal stormed ahead in the title race, there were claims City had been thrown off course by Haaland’s arrival.
But Guardiola soon found the solution to balance the side as Haaland’s deluge of goals never stopped.
“I love to play under Pep. I’m enjoying every single game,”
“It’s hard, he demands a lot, but I try to do my best to develop.”Haaland said.
Haaland’s impact on City has been felt not just in the goal charts but also in the dressing room, where teammates have embraced his single-minded dedication to his craft — even if it means missing a night out with Jack Grealish.
“He is the best professional I have ever seen,”
“He does everything. Recovers. In the gym. Ten hours of treatment a day. Ice baths. Diet. I swear I couldn’t be like that.
“We have a great friendship but he will point at me after a game and say: ‘Hey. Don’t you go out tonight partying’.
“I just tell him to shut up and go and sit in his ice bath.”Grealish said.
Although he relishes rewriting the record books, Haaland has made clear his desire is for trophies rather than personal milestones.
Having secured the Premier League title in his debut season, Haaland has his sights set on firing City to the treble.
They face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3 before heading to Istanbul to meet Inter Milan in the Champions League final seven days later.
City are looking to win the Champions League for the first time.
Yet even leading City to their European holy grail would be unlikely to sate Haaland’s hunger to feast on opposing defences for years to come.