Thousands of bet365 customers were celebrating on Sunday after the firm boosted Erling Haaland from 11/1 to 14/1 to score a hat-trick against Manchester United and the prolific Norwegian has now been boosted from 6/1 to 15/2 to surpass Cristiano Ronaldo’s current Champions League record of 17 goals during this season.
Haaland, who has scored three goals in the opening two Champions League group games, is 9/2 to bag another treble in midweek as unfancied FC Copenhagen become the latest side to try and shackle the 22-year-old.
We’ve seen the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo being smashed into by punters over the years and while Haaland is yet to be spoken about in the same breath as that world class duo, his fan base is growing at an incredible rate.
There were plenty of doubters following Haaland’s move to the Etihad around his injury history and whether or not he could adapt to Pep Guardiola’s style of play – and they’ve been made to look incredibly foolish.
The numbers Haaland has put up in his fledgling Premier League – and indeed Champions League – career have been nothing short of extraordinary.
He’s already smashed the record of the most Premier League goals scored in his first 10 games, going three ahead of Mickey Quinn, Diego Costa and Papiss Cisse – and that’s with two games to spare.
He’s 10 goals away from outscoring the last four Premier League Golden Boot winners having only just entered October.
He’s become the first player to score hat-tricks in three consecutive Premier League home games, and it’s now six games since he last failed to score – somewhat surprisingly at home to Bournemouth on the second game of the season.
It’s fair to say Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm, with seemingly no one able to stop him.
Yet it’s the Champions League where Haaland has really come to life.
On his first start in the competition for RB Salzburg, Haaland fired a first-half hat-trick against Genk. An ominous sign of things to come…
After eight goals in the group stage for the Austrian side, Haaland earned a move to Borussia Dortmund, where his first-leg brace wasn’t enough to prevent elimination at the hands of PSG.
In his first full season with Dortmund, Haaland played eight games, scoring 10 goals. The only games in which he didn’t score were, of course, the two quarter-final legs against Manchester City.
Injuries played their part last season with Haaland only managing three goals in three games, but he’s already making amends this time around.
In the history of the UEFA Champions League/European Cup, only 45 players have scored more goals than Haaland, and that’s despite him playing just 22 games, and starting only 18 of those.
He’s outscored the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Fernando Torres, Harry Kane, and even the great Ronaldo Nazario.
Of course he still has a way to go before beating the other Ronaldo. Cristiano is on a modest 141 goals in the competition, and may be angling for a January move to try and boost those numbers further.
The Portuguese remains the standard-bearer in Europe’s premier competition, with the record of 17 goals still the most in a single campaign.
But with home and away clashes with Copenhagen, and another home tie with beleaguered Sevilla to come, the Norwegian may fill his boots before the tougher tests in the knockout stages come.
Even when those tougher tests do come, we’ve little reason to think anyone is capable of stopping Haaland, and a record 18 goals in a single campaign will surely be in his sights.
By Steve Freeth