Ferran Torres lesson shows why Erling Haaland was right to choose Man City over Real Madrid - Alex Brotherton

Ferran Torres lesson shows why Erling Haaland was right to choose Man City over Real Madrid – Alex Brotherton


After months of endless negotiations and speculation, Manchester City announced on Tuesday that they have reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign Erling Haaland.

City have informed Dortmund of their intention to activate the £51m release clause in the striker’s contract. In a statement, City said the “transfer remains subject to the Club finalizing the terms with the player”, although after months of negotiations it will only be a formality.

The news ended a transfer saga that spanned almost nine months, with Haaland’s most likely destination constantly alternating between City and Real Madrid. Much has been made – especially by the Spanish press – about Haaland’s desire to play for Los Blancos one day, but in the end City won the race.

READ MORE: ‘Brothers already’ – Kevin de Bruyne excites Man City fans with Erling Haaland’s message

A number of factors contributed to the 21-year-old striker choosing City over Real Madrid, primarily the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola. There’s also the complication posed by Madrid’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe and the presence of this season’s top scorer, Karim Benzema – under current conditions Haaland is more likely to make an impact at the Etihad than at the Bernabeu.

There are the family ties – Haaland grew up supporting City after his father spent three years at the club – the wages on offer (around £400,000-a-week including bonuses) and the chance to prove himself in the top league. coveted by the world.

As reported by The Athletic, one argument the City side used to persuade Haaland to join was the biggest opportunity for rest and recovery at City. At Real Madrid, the coach and club president is said to be under huge pressure from fans to play the star signing in every game, increasing the pressure on the young player’s shoulders and the risk of injury.

At City, Guardiola is one of the key decision makers. If he decided to rest Haaland, no one (whose opinion really matters) will question his judgement. City and their players are not subject to the same type of pressure from fans and the media as Real Madrid and Barcelona; Ferran Torres finds this out the hard way.

At 22, Ferran Torres is still in the formative stage of his career, but that didn’t stop sections of the Camp Nou crowd from laughing at him in the first half of the 3-1 win. Barcelona against Celta Vigo this week.

Torres enjoyed a promising start to life at Barca following his £46m transfer (plus add-ons) from City in January, but in recent weeks he has suffered a decline in form, as have his team-mates. He’s scored just one goal in his last 10 appearances for Xavi’s side.

But for a player who, after a three-month layoff for injury, changed teams during the season, is that so surprising? Either way, as a highly billed and quite expensive signing, Torres has been singled out for criticism that is both unfair and of little benefit to his future development.

This is the reality in Barcelona; underperform for a few weeks or miss a series of guilt chances, then the fans will quickly turn on you. Get back in shape and all will be forgiven, but until then, don’t expect warm encouragement.

It’s the same story at Real Madrid, an environment where only the best 100% of the time is acceptable.

Considering his insane comeback of 85 goals in 88 games, it’s easy to forget that Haaland is still only 21 years old. He has barely finished developing physically and has arguably been overworked over the past two-and-a-half seasons at Dortmund, arriving at City after an injury-hit campaign.

Health issues aside, he will need time to adapt to a new country, a new league and, most importantly, a new team with a very different style of play.

As Torres’ experience has shown, these things are overlooked when fans of clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid pass judgment on young players. But at City it’s different.

Haaland is likely to score plenty of goals next season, but he won’t fit perfectly into City’s system or meet all of Guardiola’s demands. But that’s okay – in City he will have time to learn without the world jumping on his back.

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