European champions: Haaland's quintet is a strongly worded message to City's rivals

Manchester City reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the sixth time in a row, but the quintet of Norwegian striker giant Erling Haaland, which tore Leipzig into the German net during his team's crushing 7-<> victory, sent a stern message to the rivals of the "Citizens" in the continental tournament this season.

The Spanish City coach Josep Guardiola admitted that his reign at the head of the technical staff of Manchester City, will judge him by crowning the Champions League or not, despite his team's control of the Premier League title by scoring four times in the last five years. Seven years after arriving from Bayern Munich, the Catalan is still gasping for his third continental title, having succeeded in leading Barcelona to the title twice in 2009 and 2011, knowing that he reached the final once with City when he lost to Chelsea in 2021.

Haaland has written his name in golden letters in just 36 appearances for City, scoring 39 goals in various competitions since the start of the season. He continued to win records one after the other, the latest of which was in the Champions League through his quintet against Leipzig, becoming the third player to score five goals in one Champions League match after Brazilian Luis Adriano with Ukrainian Shakhtar Danitsk in October 2014, and Argentine Lionel Messi with Barcelona in March 2012. The 22-year-old became the youngest player to cross the 30-goal barrier with 33 goals in 25 Champions League appearances.

Haaland said after the RB Leipzig game: "I'm very tired of the many celebrations, my biggest strength is to score goals." Leipzig coach Marco Roze, who oversaw him when he was at Dortmund, praised him: "He was very hungry. He scores with the feet, with the head he wins the second balls, he runs deep. Things seemed easy for him yesterday evening. It was a great evening for him."

Haaland could have scored more goals and held the record number of goals in a single Champions League game but his coach decided to take him out after 63 minutes. "I told him I wanted to score a hat-trick double, but what can I do?"

Guardiola joked to his star's replacement: "His life would be boring if he broke all the records before celebrating his twenty-third birthday." The Spanish coach considered that Haaland adapted to the style of play City and became an integrated striker does not only score goals, but participate in the play and said in this regard, "He scored 5 goals today and I think he touched the ball 30 or 35 times (30). That's what we're looking for because we think that when you play more defensively and offensively, when you get the ball, you're more precise".

"He can do that, but it's difficult to score goals when you don't touch the ball for 40 or 50 minutes. Sometimes Haaland is at fault because he doesn't move, other times it's our fault because we can't find him." City have always lacked offensive efficiency, particularly in the advanced stages of the Champions League in previous seasons, but things could be different with Haaland in their ranks. The message may have reached the rival teams.