Erling Haaland was unveiled as a Manchester City player on Sunday — and immediately targeted arch-rivals Manchester United.
The 21-year-old joined the club from Borussia Dortmund in a €60 million deal last month as one of four summer signings announced to hundreds of fans gathered outside Etihad Stadium.
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And when asked which team he was looking forward to playing against the most, Haaland replied: “I don’t want to say the words, but… Manchester United.”
Haaland was linked with a move to Old Trafford at one stage but his father, Alf-Inge, played for City in the early 2000s and he admitted owning t-shirts of Sergio Aguero, claiming the club’s all-time record goalscorer is a role model for him.
But when explaining why he chose to join City, the Norway forward recalled an experience with Dortmund against Pep Guardiola’s side in last year’s Champions League quarterfinals.
“You see something on TV and when you actually meet it is it completely different,” he said. “I got a feeling of that. Suddenly I didn’t touch the ball for 25 minutes in the game. I was like ‘please, [Ilkay] Gundogan, stop playing tiki-taka all the time.'”
“It is a different level, I have to say. How they approach the game, how they play, how they create chances. That’s what I want to be a part of.
“In the end, I just had a feeling in my stomach. The feeling, the way they play, everything, I just had a feeling for City.”
Haaland played down pressure on him to help City retain the Premier League and end their wait for a maiden Champions League trophy.
“With me as a striker, I want to have fun. When I have fun, I score goals. I smile, I enjoy playing football and everything. In the end I just hope to smile a lot,” he said.
“It is a big challenge, a new country, a new league, new coach, new everything. But I know how it is to come to a new club. I’ve done it a couple of times before. So I am really looking forward to it.”
Haaland was unveiled alongside Julian Alvarez, Stefan Ortega Moreno and Kalvin Phillips, although the former Leeds midfielder was unable to attend the event in person due to illness.
Alvarez, a €17m acquisition from River Plate, outlined his desire to follow his country’s predecessors — including Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Carlos Tevez and Nicolas Otamendi.
“Manchester City has a lot of history with Argentinean players before I came here to create my own history, to reach the top and continue my own path,” he said.
“Playing a lot and contributing with my game, I want to win trophies, I want to win the Premier League, the Champions League and all the trophies possible.”
Backup goalkeeper Ortega Moreno, who signed on a free transfer from Arminia Bielefeld, said: “I see a big chance here for me to collect new experiences. My old club is not a big club in Germany so this year is a really big chance for to play for one of the best clubs in the world. I will try to push Ederson to a new level.”
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