Twitterati has claimed that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola protected Lionel Messi’s record by taking Erling Haaland off in the demolition of RB Leipzig.
Manchester City secured an emphatic 7-0 win over RB Leipzig in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday night (March 14). Haaland stole the headlines with a scintillating five-goal haul, while Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne scored a goal apiece to complete the routing.
The former Borussia Dortmund striker, in the process, joined Messi and Luiz Adriano as the only players to score five goals in a Champions League game. Haaland, who barged into the Leipzig box at will, was taken off in the 63rd minute, with Guardiola introducing Julian Alvarez in his place. That kept the Norwegian from surpassing Messi and becoming the first player in history to score a double hat-trick in the Champions League.
Fans have presented their theories to make sense of the substitution, with most accusing Guardiola of protecting Messi’s record, with one saying:
“Biggest Messi fanboy ever”
Here’s what others had to say:
Messi’s solitary five-goal haul in the Champions League came in a 7-1 routing of Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 when Guardiola was in charge of the Blaugrana. A couple of years later, then Shakhtar Donetsk striker Adriano joined Messi after putting five past BATE Borisov in a 7-0 win.
Erling Haaland wanted to surpass Messi by doubling hat-trick against RB Leipzig
Erling Haaland has revealed what he told Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after being subbed off in the 63rd minute. Haaland admittedly told the former Barcelona coach that he would have loved to stay on and tried to score a historic double hat-trick.
Haaland opened the scoring for City in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot before doubling his money a couple of minutes later. In the first half of injury time (47 minutes), Haaland completed his hat-trick before adding two more in the 53rd and the 57th minutes.
The 22-year-old was a goal away from scoring the first double-hattrick in Champions League history, but Guardiola decided to take him off. Here’s how Haaland reacted to the call:
“I told him (Pep Guardiola) I would love to score a double hat-trick, but what can I do?”
The five-goal haul against Leipzig, which helped City qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals with an 8-1 aggregate win, took Haaland’s goal tally to 39 (36 games) for the season. No Manchester City player in history has scored as many goals in a single season.