Haaland praises ‘beautiful’ Etihad before Man City clash

The Manchester City boss distanced himself from reports linking the club with the Norwegian last week.

But he will get a close-up look at the 20-year-old hotshot – who arrived in Manchester wearing a Sky Blue Louis Vuitton backpack worth £2,000 – when the two teams go head-to-head at the Etihad on Tuesday night.

Haaland has already scored ten goals in the competition this season and is rated in the £150million bracket by his German club.

TV cameras picked up the sensation telling England star Jude Bellingham the Etihad was “beautiful” in the stadium’s tunnel before Dortmund trained there yesterday.

That came after he was spotted with a sky blue rucksack on his back while checking into the Lowry Hotel.

Guardiola insists City will not be paying that kind of money for anyone this summer – but knows all about his ability.

And he knows his team will have to be at their best to keep him out during the two legs of the Champions League quarter-final. 

He said: “A player who can score this amount of goals at this age has not been easy to find in the past, honestly.

“He’s 20, the numbers speak for themselves. When that happens it’s because he can score right, left, counter-attacks, penalty box, headers.

“He’s a fantastic striker, everyone knows it. A blind guy can realise he’s a great striker, you don’t have to be a manager to realise it.

“The only thing I can say is that he is an exceptional striker. With his age, he is an exceptional striker.”

City are proud of the fact that for all the money they have spent, their record signing is still Ruben Dias at £64m.

So suggestions they are about to pay way north of £100m on a player like Haaland seem unlikely.

Asked about the fees being talked of, Guardiola said: “I don’t know, it’s a question for Dortmund, his agent, so I don’t know

“So far the club has decided not to spend close to £100m for a player, or more than £100m on a player.

“Maybe in the future it is going to happen if they decide it is necessary to improve the team for the next five, ten years, for many reasons.

“But so far the club, the organisation, the CEO, the sporting director decided not to do it and that’s why they didn’t do it.

“But maybe in the future – I don’t know.”

Haaland’s father, ex-City star Alfie, and agent Mino Raiola held talks with both Real Madrid and Barcelona last week as Europe’s top sides clamber to sign the goalscoring sensation.

And Dortmund boss Edin Terzic admitted he could do nothing to stop Haaland’s representatives scouting out a move… even though the club insist he is NOT for sale.

Speaking after landing in Manchester, he said:

“It has no impact on me because I can’t stop Mino Raiola and Alfiee Haaland from travelling.

“It’s up to them, they’re grown-ups and they can choose whatever they want to do. I just can have an impact on Erling and we are happy to have him in our team.

“He’s been back with us since last Thursday, when he came back from the Norway national team

“The feeling we had from the start was that he was very happy to see us and we’re very happy to have him around.

“He’s a lovely guy, his qualities are well-known all over the world and we are proud and happy he’s part of our team.”