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Manchester City star Erling Haaland looks to emulate Karim Benzema’s coming of age story at Real Madrid

Benzema has become of the top strikers in the world despite largely playing second fiddle at Real Madrid behind Ronaldo before the departure of the Portuguese, with Haaland looking to follow in his footsteps

Norwegian starlet Erling Haaland has made an expected goalscoring start in his first season at Manchester City after his long-awaited arrival in the Premier League.

Haaland was one of the leading lights in the Bundesliga during his two-and-a-half years at German giants Borussia Dortmund, scoring 62 goals in just 67 league appearances, with that number jumping up to 86 goals in 89 outings when all competitions are factored in.

His £50m move to the Etihad Stadium ushered in a new phase of hopefully continued dominance from Pep Guardiola’s men which many will hope will yield similar figures to that of former club icon Sergio Agüero.

Already, Haaland has hit 3 goals in his first 3 Premier League appearances – including a brace on his full league debut in City’s 2-0 win against West Ham – which sees him sitting joint-second in the league in goals with Wilfried Zaha and Aleksandar Mitrović and just one behind league-leading Rodrigo.

But for the Leeds-born striker, the desire to constantly improve his game is at the very core of what has driven him since his arrival at RB Salzburg in 2018 after his breakout season with Norwegian outfit Molde FK that same year.

And for Haaland, there is no better player to emulate than Real Madrid star Karim Benzema according to the man himself in quotes provided by FourFourTwo.

Though he only scored 8 goals in his first La Liga season, the goals started to come more regularly from 2010-12, hitting 15 goals and then 21 goals in the league respectively, with another 11, 17, and 15 goals in each of the following three seasons after.

But after a 24-league-goal performance in 2015-16, Benzema struggled in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo which included only 5 La Liga goals in 2017-18.

However, the moment Ronaldo left the Spanish capital for Turin and Serie A juggernaut Juventus, Benzema was born again at the Santiago Bernabeu with Madrid not missing a beat with the Frenchman leading the line which, at the time of writing, has resulted in 93 La Liga strikes in 141 appearances as well as a mammoth 15 goal performance in last season’s Champions League that saw Madrid lift their fourteenth title in the club’s history.

With Benzema, now 34, aging like a fine Côtes du Rhône reserve, Haaland can only hope to continue to develop and mature in a similar vein to one of the most prestigious sons of Lyon.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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