At age 20, Erling Braut Haaland thrives “where the stars shine”. Only in his second season in the competition, the Borussia Dortmund striker hit the ground, fruitfully breaking UEFA Champions League records.
The young man talked to UEFA.com about his life, motivation, the “unavailability” of Dortmund and how he does not focus on breaking records – or his rap career.
On social media and rap
You have six million Instagram followers. How does that feel?
You miss it there! If you go check right away, you’ll see it’s not six million. It has now risen to 6.1 million. Well it goes well!
Talk to us: “Winter is coming. Let’s cut some wood “
That’s a nice picture. I was in the woods on vacation with my father, working in a cabin.
Who are Flow Kingz? Will you be releasing any more music soon?
Flow Kingz is me and my … I don’t know what to call it, my rap group or whatever. As you may know, we have a good song on YouTube. It’s a nice group of people. At the moment, I am completely focused on football. So, that is not in my head at the moment, but we never know what will happen in the future.
Growing up and family
What was it like growing up in Bryne, Norway?
It was very nice. I moved there when I turned four, from England. I enjoyed it a lot and I still have a lot of good friends with whom I have been friends all my life.
Did that experience help you keep your feet on the ground?
Yes of course. You know, the people from there are humble and hardworking people.
How much were your parents inspired?
They have supported me my whole life and they still support me. They gave me a lot of love and joy.
About motivation, goals and breaking records
What is it in the Champions League that motivates and inspires?
My dream has always been to play in the Champions League, and when I went to Salzburg, I knew that if we won the league, we would qualify directly for the Champions League. I knew that for a long time, and when it finally happened, I said, “OK, this year is going to be my year” with Salzburg. It started well and it’s just something special, you know, the whole thing. That’s where the stars shine, if you can say so.
You scored a hat-trick on your debut. Do you remember the goals?
We focused on this Champions League debut for the whole club with Salzburg, and I was waiting for this moment in the Champions League; in dreams obviously [imagined] scoring a goal on his debut, imagining how nice it would be, and then it went like this: 100 seconds and then I scored! And the stadium just exploded, so yeah, it was an amazing debut and there were amazing days there.
Your third goal was checked offside before it was awarded, so you didn’t fully celebrate.
I thought, “OK, I’m not going to celebrate [in case] the celebration is for nothing, “you know. So I waited a bit and when I saw that the goal was okay and I scored a hat-trick, I said,” Oh my God, I’m actually living a dream! “
Your eighth goal in the Champions League broke two important records: the first teenager to score in five consecutive matches and the first player to score eight goals in the first five matches.
To be honest, I had no idea about these records [before]. After my debut, I just tried to keep going, you know? We also showed our quality in the Champions League, the way we played and so we won. I’m just trying to do my job, and my job is of course to get results.
Your tenth goal – and the second part of the night – against Paris in the round of 16 2019/20, was a rocket!
It was the last Champions League match with the supporters, with a full hall, and it was my Champions League debut for Dortmund so it was a bit special. It was my first Champions League game for them, and yes, I remember the whole stadium somehow exploding. It was also a very beautiful night.
That goal made you the fastest player to score ten goals in Champions League history. When do you become aware of such a record?
It’s usually when someone [tells me] after the game or if I see her [on social media], or something like that. It’s nothing before, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. The free motivation is just to move on, to try to present yourself on the big stage.
You also broke Kylian Mbappé’s record and became the youngest player to score 15 goals in the Champions League. Does that make you think, “Wow!”
Yes. He is an amazing player, and also one of the best in the world. And yes, of course that’s not my focus [to break records] but it’s nice to do something good.
When you’re in shape, do you just expect to score a goal every time you play?
Yes, but I don’t get into games like this. I get into games trying to do all the other things properly, and if I do all those things very well, if I set myself up well, if I do this well and do it well, I know the goals will come. So if I focus completely and concentrate on the right things, goals will come.
So far in the 2020/21 season
You are a joint scorer this season. What has been your favorite goal so far?
I’m not really sure, maybe the home match against Club Brugge – the first goal, when Jadon [Sancho] he played me. It was a nice goal.
Dortmund face Sevilla in the round of 16. Do you feel confident?
Of course. They are a tough opponent, but we have to do our best and we have to really play at the highest level to have a chance against Sevilla. They are a good team, it is difficult to play against them.
Last term you bowed to Paris at this stage. How determined are you to advance further this season?
I am very motivated for that, and I expect us to go further this season. So we have to perform the best we can.
Do you think Dortmund can win it?
That’s a tough question, to be honest. You know how many good teams there are. So I’m just calling me “underdogs,” so we’ll see what happens.
Included to The feeling of the Champions League
What does it give you to feeling?
For me, he plays in the middle of the week. It’s always been my whole life – you know, in the middle of the week [means] on Tuesday and Wednesday is the Champions League. It’s always been that way, and it’s being built after the game for the weekend, it’s being built until the Champions League. And I really like the setting, you know? From the song, from the previous day, training with the Champions League ball. And, of course, something more special than usual [domestic] games. So, I like it a lot.
When you hear the UEFA Champions League, what do you think of first?
Honestly, I mean the ball that goes into the net.