Pep Guardiola’s inner football encyclopedia jumped at Erling Haaland’s karate-kick goal.

Pep Guardiola’s inner football encyclopedia immediately kicked in at Erling Haaland’s karate-kick goal. “That was incredible. You probably know what a big influence Johan Cruyff had on me,” said the Manchester City team manager after the 2-1 (0-0) win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. “That goal reminded me of a very similar one by Johan many years ago. Against Atletico Madrid.” 

And, indeed: on 22 December 1973, the Dutch football genius had also scored sensationally. On the 15th league matchday, Cruyff rose high after a cross from the right – and scored in flight for FC Barcelona with his high heel from an acute angle to make it 1-0. The game ended 2-1. It is said to have been the most beautiful goal of Cruyff’s career.

Haaland, who scored 13 goals in his first nine competitive games for ManCity, took a less historical view of it all. “I have long legs and I can jump well,” he said by way of explanation. “That’s the kind of thing I train. Scoring goals is just my job.”

The opponents could only shake their heads. “Erling Haaland is just Erling Haaland,” said Mats Hummels. Sporting director Sebastian Kehl assigned no blame to anyone: the scene had not really been a chance, given the less than the ideal cross.

But then Haaland went up – like Johan Cruyff in 1973.