In an incident that would have left Pep Guardiola and club fans racked with anxiety, the striker went down clutching his ankle during Norway’s 2-0 home win over the Faroe Islands on Thursday. And he has already been ruled out of his country’s clash with Scotland on Sunday night, which comes just six days before the Reds visit the Etihad.
And team doctor Ola Sand has since said tests will be needed to reveal the extent of the damage. Revealing the 23-year-old is in “considerable pain,” he also claimed Haaland’s foot movement was currently restricted, making it impossible for him to line-up against Steve Clarke’s team.
Norway boss Stale Solbakken confirmed the news, adding: “It is of course a shame that Erling will not be ready for the match on Sunday, but we will not be bringing in a replacement. This is a great opportunity for the offensive players in the squad to show off.”
Cynics may argue that Solbakken’s willingness to rest Haaland could derive from the fact that the game at Hampden Park is now effectively a dead rubber. The visitors are already unable to finish in the top two, although the Tartan Army need a win to keep their slim hopes of topping the group alive.
Regardless, Guardiola faces a nervous wait, already confined to facing Jurgen Klopp’s side without key men John Stones and Kevin de Bruyne. Last season’s Golden Boot winner has been criticised for nor being at his clinical best this season, and yet still tops the Premier League scoring charts.
Haaland has 13 top-flight goals this season in just 12 games, leaving him three clear of Mo Salah. He’s also struck four times in the Champions League as he seeks to replicate his mammoth total of 52 in all competitions in 2022/23.
City will kick-off at 12.30pm next Saturday just a point clear of their rivals following the dramatic 4-4 draw at Chelsea last Sunday. The former Borussia Dortmund man was on target twice in that clash, having also grabbed a brace in Europe against Young Boys in midweek.
Only this week, Haaland’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, made an astonishing prediction about his prolific client. He argues that inflation in football could see him become the game’s first £1billion player.