Erling Haaland has set a new record for the most goals scored in a single season by a Premier League player. The 22-year-old Norway striker fired in City’s third in their 3-0 quarter-final first-leg win against Bayern Munich, taking his total to 45 goals in just 39 games. This is a record for a Premier League player in all competitions, surpassing the 44 goals scored by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mohamed Salah in their respective seasons.
The former Borussia Dortmund player has been called a “monster” and a “beast” for his impressive performance this season. His five goals against Bayern Munich, whom he had never beaten before, have been particularly impressive. Former Bayern and Germany striker Mario Gomez praised Manchester City for signing him, saying “every team has to fear this player because he is just a monster. He is a beast”.
Haaland has also been praised for his efficiency and work rate. Former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves described him as “the most efficient striker I have ever seen” and former City defender Joleon Lescott said he was “unique”. Former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin noted that Haaland did a lot of work for other players in the game, saying “he was never going to be off the scoresheet when City score three goals”.
The previous record for most goals scored in a single season by a Premier League player was 44, achieved by both Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mohamed Salah. Van Nistelrooy managed it in his second season with Manchester United, while Salah did it in his first year at Liverpool. However, Haaland broke their record despite playing 13 games fewer. He has also scored 28 goals with his preferred left foot, 10 with his right foot and seven with his head.
Haaland’s 45 goals also breaks his previous best goalscoring season of 44, which he achieved in 2019-20 with 28 goals for Salzburg and 16 for Dortmund. This was also his 11th Champions League goal of the season, surpassing Van Nistelrooy’s record of 12 goals for a Premier League side. The last English top-flight player to score more in a season was Clive Allen of Tottenham in 1986-87, when he hit 49 goals in all competitions.
Haaland is now two behind Mohamed Salah’s record of 32 goals in a 38-game season, set in 2017-18. He has nine Premier League games left to break this record and if City go all the way in the Champions League and FA Cup he would have another 15 games to score the 18 goals needed to break Dixie Dean’s record of 63 goals in all competitions for Everton in 1927-28. However, Lionel Messi’s 2011-12 records for Europe’s other major leagues are likely out of reach, with the Argentine having netted 50 La Liga goals and 73 in all competitions for Barcelona that season. Haaland will also need to score a few more goals to match Cristiano Ronaldo’s 17-goal Champions League record of 2013-14.