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The emotional reason why Erling Haaland refused to celebrate against Leeds United

The emotional reason why Erling Haaland refused to celebrate against Leeds United

The first round of fixtures of the Premier League ended last night with Manchester City’s 3-1 victory against Leeds, and, *checks notes*, yep, Erling Haaland scored.

The Premier League is now well and truly back.

Haaland has become a scoring machine while playing for the champions this season, failing to score in only 4 of the 15 played so far, vastly outperforming his xG of 12.9 by 7 goals!

Unlike his teammates and many others in the league, Erling did not make his way to the Middle East earlier this month as Norway failed to qualify for the tournament.

This time spent away from the game and the rustiness was there to see as Haaland started the game with a fairly easy one-on-one which he failed to convert. In fact, he failed to beat the keeper in three different one-on-ones.

Failed. Not a word we use for him often. A minor bug in an otherwise flawless machine.

Leeds somehow survived the first 45 minutes but could not keep the opponents out in injury time, with Rodri’s shot finding its way past Illan Meslier.

Come the second half, a mistake from Leeds defender meant Grealish could intercept a pass and get through on goal, but instead of taking it on himself, the midfielder squared the ball to Haaland, who had a simple tap-in in an open goal. 2-0 and Haaland is on the scoresheet.

Less than 15 minutes later, the same duo combined to get Haaland on the scoresheet again. Two goals in the match, 20 in the league, and a new record broken.

Erling had the honour of becoming the fastest man to reach 20 goals for his club, doing so in only 14 games. The incumbent, Thierry Henry, took 20 more games than the Norwegian.


Scoring goals has now become routine for the star striker, and so has his iconic yoga pose celebration. What was not routine in this match was him not hitting that celebration after scoring.

On the contrary, Haaland refused to celebrate all together, as a mark of respect.

We hear you. He did not play for Leeds ever. So why this respect?

Erling actually has a connection to the city much deeper than most would know, or expect.

The city of Leeds is the birthplace of the 22-year-old player. He spent the first few years of his life in the midlands of England when his father, Alfie Inge played for Leeds United.

Alfie Inge Haaland played for Leeds from 1997-2000, before moving to Manchester City and staying there till 2003.

The connection of his father with both clubs meant this game was always going to be special and Leeds fans appreciated the fact that the player valued his roots and the connection with the club.

After the game, Haaland confirmed that he had decided before the match that he would not celebrate if and when he scored against Leeds.

He added that he congratulated and thanked Grealish for his assists before saying “Mom and dad was at the stadium. That is special. When I was little, I had a Leeds kit with Eirik Bakke on the back and a City kit with my dad’s name”.

He has always valued the Leeds connection much before even playing for City, like when he was still playing Salzburg, and posed with a vintage 1999/2000 Leeds kit.

It is heart-warming to see a player with the world at his feet being so humble and genuine in his ways. Moves like these will only earn him more and more fans. I mean, even a United or a Liverpool supporter will want their player to do something similar.

But celebrate or not, the crux of the matter is, even a rusty Haaland scored two goals with ease.

City plays Everton next. God help them.