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Happy 21st birthday Erling Haaland! The Norway and Dortmund man's brilliant career so far

As he turns 21, UEFA.com celebrates the Dortmund and Norway striker's stunning start in European football.

Watch all of Haaland's Champions League goals

After 22 UEFA club competition games, birthday boy Erling Haaland has hit an astonishing 24 goals and scored at least once against every side he has met in the UEFA Champions League (except for Manchester City, who denied the Norwegian in the 2020/21 quarter-finals).

Haaland finished as the UEFA Champions League's top marksman in 2020/21 with ten goals. UEFA.com celebrates a modern phenomenon.

• With 24 strikes in his first 20 European matches, i.e. prior to the City tie, Haaland set a daunting goalscoring pace. At the same point in their careers, other modern greats had nothing like his potency; after 20 European outings, Kylian Mbappé had scored 12 goals, Lionel Messi eight, Robert Lewandowski six and Cristiano Ronaldo just one.

What gives Erling Haaland that #UCLFeeling?

• Even the most celebrated marksmen of the earliest UEFA club competition vintage could not touch Haaland's totals. After 20 European games, Real Madrid legends Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo Di Stéfano had scored 19 and 21 goals respectively; AC Milan titan José Altafini hit 21 in his first 20 appearances, while 1970s German aces Gerd Müller and Jupp Heynckes netted 15 and 18 respectively in the equivalent number of continental fixtures at the dawn of their careers.

• Haaland is already Norway's joint-third highest-scoring player in UEFA club competition, trailing Harald Brattbakk (31 in 75 games) and John Carew (28 in 85), but level on 24 goals with Toré André Flo (who took 61 matches to achieve his haul). His one-time mentor at Molde, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, ended his career with 23 European goals.

• Only one team aside from City have managed to stop Haaland scoring in a European game: the forward failed to register on his continental debut as his Molde side lost 2-1 to Northern Ireland's Glenavon in a July 2018 UEFA Europa League qualifier. He got his first European goal on his next outing, a 3-0 success over Albanian club Laç.

Erling Haaland in UEFA Europa League action against Hibernian in August 2018
Erling Haaland in UEFA Europa League action against Hibernian in August 2018AFP via Getty Images

• Glenavon's Rhys Marshall recalled of Haaland's debut: "He barely got a kick, to be fair to our defenders. He was very young; there were something like 18 or 19 scouts there to watch him. We all knew about him because there was so much talk about him. That was in the summer and I think the following January he joined Salzburg."

• Haaland's European goalscoring stats have remained impressive with each move up the international ladder: with Molde, he claimed four goals in five European games; then he bagged eight in seven UEFA fixtures for Salzburg and he has struck 12 in 12 for Dortmund.

• Those raw figures – 24 in 22 matches – are equivalent to 1.09 goals per game. Should he continue to strike at the same rate, he will overtake Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 137 European goals some time during his 127th continental appearance. Had Ronaldo scored at the same speed as Haaland throughout his 184 European outings to date, he would have amassed more than 200 goals.

Which clubs has Haaland scored against?

• All of them bar Glenavon and City, so ten clubs in total: Club Brugge, Genk, Hibernian, Laç, Lazio, Liverpool, Napoli, Paris, Sevilla and Zenit. Eight of his goals have come against Belgian opposition, at a rate of one every 33 minutes.

Opponents by clubGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
Club Brugge
Hibernian 183241m30s
Manchester City2180--

When Haaland has scored his UEFA competition goals

• Haaland's goals have been spread evenly across both halves so far, but opposition managers should note that he is at his most fearsome when he gets the scent of half-time oranges; seven of his 24 strikes have come in the final 15 minutes of the first half.

TimeGoals (penalties)
0–102 (1)
11–203 (1)
31–405 (1)
41 to half-time2
First half13
85 to full time2
Second half11

Last updated: 21/07/21