Sunday People



ERLING HAALAND may win the Ballon d’or says Ruud Gullit – if Manchester City lift the Champions League.

The Dutch legend believes the record-breaking goal-machine will be in the frame for the coveted award if his club can land their first prize in European football’s top tournament.

Haaland (right) faces stiff competitio­n from seven-time winner Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.

But Gullit, speaking ahead of this week’s prestigiou­s Laureus awards in Paris, said: “If Haaland wins the Champions League this year with

Manchester City, then he could win the Ballon d’or. He will be a very strong contender for it, for sure.

“As a footballer, he’s out of the ordinary. You can’t compare him to anyone. There’s always one freak of nature that comes out. We had that with Lionel Messi. He was out of the ordinary, too.

“But Haaland, how he scores is fantastic. He’s exceptiona­l in front of goal, one of a kind.”

Votes for the prize take place after next month’s showpiece in Turkey, so Haaland will have the chance to excel on the biggest European stage.

He will do so after breaking the scoring record – held over a 42-game season by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole – earlier this week with a strike

against West Ham. Gullit said it was time to celebrate the moment because a bigger task now lies ahead.

He said: “He made the right decision to go to City – because he knew Pep Guardiola played attacking football.

“It’s much more difficult to do that with a counter-attacking team.

“Therefore, it was the right choice for him.

“If I were him, I would cherish this moment. What he’s done is fantastic – but can you do it the year after and the year after that?

“So, his next goal will be to match, or better, what he’s done.”

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