Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has poked fun at transfer reports in Spain linking Erling Haaland with a move to Real Madrid, insisting the striker will only leave if he becomes unhappy.
Haaland returned to action off the bench during City’s comfortable 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday night after missing ten games in all competitions with a foot stress fracture. Prior to his absence, the Norwegian had scored 19 times in 23 games to follow on from his historic 2022/23 campaign.
Madrid have long been linked with Haaland, just as they have with Kylian Mbappe, with speculation intensifying following conjecture from El Chiringuito host Josep Pedrerol. He claims the Haaland camp is in regular contact with the Spanish side and another report from AS suggests there is a feeling he would have to move to the Bernabeu to get greater recognition when its come the Ballon d’Or and Best FIFA awards.
When Guardiola was asked about Haaland on Friday, he brushed it off as a joke.
“You have to ask the media from Madrid, maybe they have more info than we have. We don’t have that feeling,” the City boss responded.
“He could not play for two months because he was injured but maybe the media from Spain, and especially Madrid, have more information than us. We cannot say he didn’t adapt quickly and he was not fine since he arrived. It’s the level he showed since he arrived on day one. We cannot control what people say. When he’s unhappy, he will take his decision.”
Haaland joined City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022, with the Premier League club using a release clause in his contract to secure the best striker in the world for £51m, well below his real market value. But one of the concessions was a release clause going into his City contract too.
90min has previously reported that, while none of the many varying clauses become active until 2025, City are keen to agree a new contract with Haaland to at least renegotiate the release clause to a higher number. The value of the current release clause has never been reported and Rafaela Pimenta, who took over as the player’s chief representative when Mino Raiola passed away in 2022, has stated that only City and his inner circle know what it is.
Pimenta, a valued aide to Raiola and the agency’s legal eye, believes strongly in the importance of a release clause being inserted into every single player contract.
“I don’t like it…