MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Erling Haaland joined in the singing and chanting by Manchester City fans as the new signing was presented outside the stadium of the English Premier League (EPL) champions yesterday.
It is a month since the Norway striker completed his move to City from Borussia Dortmund for EU60 million to seal his return to England, the country of his birth.
Asked what he would bring to the EPL, the 21-year-old Haaland said: “Hopefully some more quality with me as a striker. I want to have fun. When I have fun I score goals, I smile, I enjoy playing football, I smile a lot.”
Haaland has scored 20 goals in 21 appearances for Norway and netted 86 goals in 89 games in two and a half seasons with Dortmund. Before that, he was at Molde in Norway and then Salzburg in Austria, where he initially grabbed the attention of Europe’s major clubs thanks to his performances in the UEFA Champions League.
His father, Alf-Inge, played for and briefly captained City in the EPL from 2000-03 and Erling supported the team as a kid, often going to Maine Road — the club’s former home — with his mother to watch his father play.
Asked who his idol was growing up, Haaland replied: “My dad, of course. But in City I have many jerseys at home from (Sergio) Aguero I have to say. So of course him. From City, him.”
Haaland inherits the No. 9 jersey vacated by City’s all-time leading scorer, Aguero, who left last year for Barcelona only to be forced into retirement by a heart problem.
There is a new Argentine forward at City. Julian Alvarez has arrived from River Plate after being loaned back to the Buenos Aires club after signing a deal with City in January.
The 22-year-old Alvarez was also presented to fans outside the Etihad Stadium.
“I came here to create my own history, create my own path and help City reach the top and continue the success it has been having,” he said.
City open their EPL title defence against West Ham on August 7.