LOOK AT HIS FACE! JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE!
Pep Guardiola loves football, but he doesn’t always seem to enjoy it. Why would you, when you have a 73 winning percentage and enough medals to fill a tank right off the M60, and yet the best of Social Media Disgrace Twitter routinely call you a bald fraud? Guardiola’s perfectionist always pursues something more, something purer. But it turns out that the answer to eternal happiness is much simpler. All you need is a big, hulking Nordic cheat code.
When Erling Brute Haaland scored his second goal against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday, taking his tally to 19 in 12 games for City, Pep instantly became a meme – again. He turned to the City bench, gaping and laughing as he pointed over his shoulder at Haaland. At the time he looked about 40 years younger, like a rambunctious kid whose most hated teacher had just sat on a cushion in front of the school principals. Haaland has taken an already terrifying City to computer game goalscoring levels. They have scored 40 in 11 games, which is more than some teams will manage all season.
“It’s unbelievable, honestly,” said Jack Grealish, as The Fiver had a headache trying to decide if disbelief and honesty should be mutually exclusive. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” continued the man who used to play alongside Rudy Gestede and Gabby Agbonlahor. “For the first and second goals, I was just laughing. His guardian told me: ‘He is not human!’ I said, ‘Are you telling me?’ Hopefully he can continue like this and lead us to glory.”
I wish? There is no hope about it, not for the opposition teams. And since there is still no definitive evidence on whether Haaland is human or cyborg, he could be scoring goals for the next 100 years. The only fly in the ointment is persistent speculation that he has a £174m release clause set to kick in in 2024. Real Madrid are already interested, having calculated that a £174m transfer fee would result in roughly 12 pennies a goal, but the received wisdom is that Haaland is at City for a good time – an extremely, orgiastically, hat-tricktasticly good time – rather than a very long time.
Guardiola does not have that. “Not true,” he said, pounding one of Fleet Street’s finest into the mush to emphasize the point. “He does not have a termination clause for Real Madrid or for any other team. Am I upset by the rumours? Not absolutely not. Rumors and people talking can’t be controlled, so we always have to worry about what we can control. The important thing is that he has adapted very well. I get the feeling that he is incredibly happy here, and that is the most important thing.” That and the fact that it’s the first week of October and Haaland has already scored enough goals to have his own Paul Hardcastle song.
LIVE ON GREAT WEBSITE
Barry Glendenning will be here for the hot Big Vase MBM coverage of Omonia Nicosia 0-3 Manchester United at 5:45pm BST, then Rob Smyth will be on hand for Arsenal 2-1 Bodø/Glimt from 8pm.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I don’t know if he likes football. There were meetings where they said one thing and then I see it face to face, having traveled 30 hours, and it’s the opposite… They had told us not to try to win the cup, not to play with our best team, and we made decisions different. We did what we think a club like Valencia should do” – Marcelino García Toral talks to Sid Lowe about his time working for Peter Lim, his stay at Athletic and the prospect of taking over Spain.
Football Weekly Extraaaaaaaaaaaaaa is here.
Join Faye Carruthers for a special live event with Euro 2022 winner Beth Mead on Monday 31st October. Tickets are already available.
Re: yesterday’s date. I really don’t know how Reggina manager Pippo Inzaghi saw himself after the VAR decision that he went in favor of Inter against Barcelona, but I can assure you that his young brother Simone (the current Inter manager) in that photo looks more embarrassed than an embarrassed Welsh lamb” – Bogdan Kotarlic (and 1056 others).
“Re: Fiver letters from yesterday. You can get an archived version of the old Fiver Wiki page here” – Matt Johnson.
“It’s great to see Albion as the slot headline on yesterday’s Fiver, as well as the first slot on ITV’s Championship highlights show (where the analysis is so innovative Alan Shearer could get a job). We Baggies should cherish these days of media saturation while we can. Apparently Steve Bruce has now done 44 consecutive seasons as a player or manager, sigh. Can The Fiver do a more specific Stop Football campaign in your home region? – Tom Levesley.
“Copenhagen tried a novel approach against Manchester City by trying to disguise their goalkeeper as Batman. Perhaps one of his more local gods, like Odin or Thor, would stand a better chance against Erling Haaland and the rest of his friends? –Nigel Sanders.
“Re: Erik ten Hag thanking Manchester City for their derby win (News, Bits and Bobs yesterday). This was a reminder, no doubt, to all football fans that our game is simply a reflection of the society it is locked into, that dribbling football is a subset of the dribbling economy” – John Weldon.
Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our no prize letter of the day is… Tom Levesley.