In the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund (0-0), Manchester City striker Erling Haaland stayed in the dressing room at half-time. Coach Pep Guardiola then explained why.
“Erling had a bit of a fever before the game, as did Joao Cancelo,” Guardiola explained of the Norwegian star striker’s half-time substitution. “They were tired, so we made the substitutions.”
Haaland was completely unregistered against his ex-club and only had 13 ball contacts before he was substituted. For the first time in this Champions League season, the 22-year-old was without a goal of his own.
“We kept the ball well away from our goal because of course that’s where he acts and does his best work. (…) And he only played 45 minutes tonight so we didn’t have to worry about him until the end,” explained BVB midfielder Jude Bellingham.
The reunion with his former club ended harmoniously. Even before the kick-off, Haaland had given the entire Dortmund coaching and consulting team as well as all BVB players hand-signed Manchester City jerseys. He also did a lap of honor in the stadium after the final whistle.
After his departure in the summer, the striker showed himself generous to BVB employees and former teammates and gave away luxury Rolex and Omega watches.