Erling Haaland was one of the most sought-after players in the market this past summer. From Barcelona to Chelsea to Manchester United to PSG, every big club across Europe were keen on landing the Norwegian international.
Even Real Madrid were drawn into the transfer battle for the ace striker. But, the 22-year-old opted to snub the reigning champions of Spain and Europe, as well as the other interested parties in order to secure a move to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Having joined Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut, Haaland is tearing apart teams in the Premier League and has already scored ten goals in just six games, that includes two stunning hat-tricks.
As mentioned earlier, Haaland was faced with a tough decision in the summer as he had a host of top clubs chasing after him.
Now, his father and former Manchester City star Alf-Inge Haaland has shed some light on the striker’s choice to move to the Etihad Stadium instead of Real Madrid.
Talking in ‘Haaland: The Choice’ documentary for ViaPlay (h/t Sport.fr), Alf-Inge Haaland points to the presence of Karim Benzema and Real Madrid’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe as the reason behind his son not joining forces with Los Blancos.
“We had established a first criterion which was: ‘who needs a No. 9?’ Manchester City had 10/10 at this level, it was the perfect option,” he said.
“Real, we gave him more of a 5 or a 6 out of 10 because there is the way Karim Benzema currently plays. And we wondered if they were also going to sign Mbappe,” he further added.
Real Madrid not only missed out on Haaland, but they even failed to bring in Mbappe as well, as he performed a last-minute swerve and signed a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Carlo Ancelotti & co. have entered the new season with Karim Benzema as their only natural striker, given that Mariano Diaz is out of favour. They have started well, winning five in five across all competitions, with the latest win coming against Real Betis on Saturday.
As for their search for a striker, while Haaland remains on Real Madrid’s radar for the future, they are also looking at other potential options, including Brazilian wonderkid Endrick.
Brahim, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could lineup against Sevilla
Real Madrid are set to play hosts to Sevilla this evening, in what could prove to be a critical match in the context of the title race.
Although Los Blancos hold a formidable lead at the top of the table, the club are coming on the back of a disappointing result against Rayo Vallecano.
Dropping more points against Sevilla tonight could prove to be costly, especially with Barcelona and Girona breathing down their necks.
Potential Real Madrid lineup vs Sevilla
As Real Madrid approach this crucial game, coach Carlo Ancelotti has to make several arrangements, especially with so many players ruled out either due to injury or suspension.
Starting from the goalkeeper position, Thibaut Courtois remains out, which means Andriy Lunin should continue in between the sticks, ahead of the unhappy Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In the right-back position, Ancelotti is likely to opt for Lucas Vazquez, as Dani Carvajal is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the last game.
On a bright note, though, Antonio Rudiger is back and should return to central defence. He will be accompanied by Nacho Fernandez at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
Elsewhere in defence, Ferland Mendy should continue to start ahead of Fran Garcia in the left-back position.
Moving into midfield, Eduardo Camavinga has been ruled out due to suspension. However, Ancelotti does have a myriad of options in the middle of the park.
Aurelien Tchouameni should continue to operate in the number six position, just behind the two interior midfielders Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde.
Luka Modric is an option on the bench, should Ancelotti require more experience in the middle.
As for the attack, the Real Madrid frontline should be led by Brahim Diaz once again, even though he faces fierce competition from Joselu.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, on the other hand, are guaranteed choices in the wide attacking spaces, though Ancelotti does have Arda Guler and Alvaro Rodriguez as potential alternatives.