2019 belonged to Erling Braut Haaland. Back in January, he left his home country of Norway at just 18 years of age. He soon won the Austrian domestic double with FC Salzburg. In the summer, he claimed the Golden Boot in the U20 World Cup, while in the autumn, he scored eight Champions League goals in just six appearances. To top it all off, he was named Austria's ''Footballer of the Year'' and then secured a move to BVB at the end of December.
''I wanted clarity regarding my future,'' said Haaland after signing a deal with Borussia which will keep him at the club until 30 June 2024: ''I wanted to know where I would be playing for the next few years.'' The answer is clear - Dortmund. The city where so many talented and highly sought-after young players have taken the next step in the world of football. ''I had several intense conversations with the club's management team, in particular with Hans-Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and coach Lucien Favre. Right from the very start, I knew I wanted to move here. I can't wait to get started and play in front of over 80,000 fans in the incredible Dortmund atmosphere. I'm so excited,'' said Haaland after putting pen to paper. BVB Chief Executive Officer Hans-Joachim Watzke was equally positive in his assessment: ''Despite receiving numerous offers from some of the biggest clubs in Europe, Erling Haaland has decided that the best option for his career is to come and join our project here at BVB. Our persistence has paid off,''
Erling Braut Haaland is the son of former Norway international and World Cup participant Alf-Inge Haaland (born 1972, won 34 caps). Haaland was born on 21 July 2000 in England, where his father played for both Leeds United and Manchester City. Just two years later, his father was forced to end his career due to a knee injury. The family moved back to Norway, where young Erling got his first taste of playing football with the youth set-up of third-tier side Bryne Fotballklubb. He moved his way up through the ranks before making his first-team debut on 12 May 2016 at just 15 years of age.
From February 2017 to December 2018, Haaland played for Norwegian league runners-up Molde FK before moving to Salzburg in the 2019 January transfer window. The summer of 2019 saw him named winner of the Golden Boot at the U20 World Cup. All nine of his goals were scored in just one match: Norway’s 12-0 rout of Honduras.
But it wasn’t until the start of the 2019/20 season that the 1.94-metres tall striker really made his breakthrough. In the first seven matchdays of the Austrian Bundesliga season, he scored an incredible eleven goals. He ended up grabbing a total of 16 goals in 14 league matches, while in the Champions League, he managed to score eight in six appearances. ''We can all look forward to having an ambitious, athletic and physically imposing centre-forward here at the club. Haaland boasts a real eye for goal and impressive speed, and we are confident that we can develop him even further here in Dortmund,'' said Sporting Director Michael Zorc at Haaland’s unveiling, going on to add: ''At just 19 years of age, he is at the very start of what promises to be an incredible career!'' Haaland was then named Austria’s Footballer of the Year, following in the illustrious footsteps of record-holder David Alaba (most recently 2016) as well as Marcel Sabitzer and Marko Arnautović.
Now Erling Braut Haaland calls Dortmund home. ''BVB always had good strikers. I used to look up to them when I was younger, and I always used to imagine what it would be like to lead the line wearing that Black & Yellow jersey,'' said the Norwegian in an interview with the club’s member magazine ''Borussia,'' going on to add: ''As I started to get better and better, I one day asked my father: 'Dortmund and me - that would be a good match right?' When I heard BVB were interested, I knew I had the chance to make this dream a reality. I had a great feeling about the move. The timing was perfect.''
The 19-year-old has since become the first player in the history of the German Bundesliga to score seven goals in his first three matches: three in Augsburg, two against Cologne and two against Union Berlin.