Growing speculation over Erling Haaland's future will not force Borussia Dortmund into setting any deadlines, insists sporting director Michael Zorc.

The Norway international is in high demand after netting 49 goals in 51 appearances for Dortmund, attracting interest from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Talk of a transfer intensified after Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, was said to have been in contact with a number of clubs, having reportedly spoken with representatives from Barca and Madrid.

But Zorc, who is eager to keep hold of the 20-year-old, claimed the Bundesliga club would not be rushed into a panic move.

"I don't see the need to set deadlines at the moment [for transfers]," he said on Thursday.

Widespread reports last year suggested Dortmund gave United a deadline in talks over Jadon Sancho, with the winger ultimately staying in Germany.

Zorc continued: "With Erling Haaland, we have a clear stance which we have communicated to the parties involved.

"Yesterday I spoke to Mino Raiola. We've made our intentions very clear. It's no problem when Alfie [Haaland's father] and Mino want to take a sunbathe on the Mediterranean Sea.

"I am relaxed because I know what we want."

Haaland drew a blank this week in Dortmund's Champions League loss to Manchester City, though he still boasts 10 goals in seven appearances in the competition this term.

Since Haaland scored a 23-minute hat-trick on his Dortmund debut, his 49 goals across all competitions have been bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (67) and Cristiano Ronaldo (53) among players in Europe's 'top five' leagues.

He has 21 league goals this season, with Edin Terzic's side sitting fifth in the Bundesliga.

What does the future hold for Lorenzo Insigne?

The Napoli captain is no certainty to remain at his boyhood club as his contract runs down.

A switch to Milan could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – MILAN TARGETING INSIGNE

Milan met with Lorenzo Insigne's agent as they eye a move for the Napoli captain, according to Gianluigi Di Marzio.

Insigne – previously linked with Liverpool – has one year remaining on his current contract and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with his boyhood club.

Serie A rivals Milan are monitoring the situation and ready to pounce.

 

ROUND-UP

- A move for Insigne depends on the future of Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. The 27-year-old is set to become a free agent and Arsenal and Chelsea are eyeing the Turkey international, reports Sky Italy. Manchester United have also been linked.

- The front page of Thursday's Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter and neighbours Milan are going head-to-head to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. The Serbia international is also reportedly wanted by United, Juventus and Tottenham.

Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City are vying to sign Inter star Romelu Lukaku this off-season, claims Calciomercato. Lukaku has emerged as a target for all three clubs, who are also eyeing Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling HaalandReal Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, United and Liverpool have also been linked with Haaland.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Roma and Milan both want to sign Torino captain Andrea Belotti. With Torino struggling, the Italy forward could be ready to jump at the chance for European football.

Tottenham are stepping up their pursuit of Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard, says the Express. Spurs have long been linked with Inter star Milan Skriniar, but Vestergaard appears to be an easier option.

Lionel Messi's future is a popular topic.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona at the start of the season but opted to remain at Camp Nou.

With his contract expiring at the end of 2020-21, the Barca superstar is continuing to make headlines.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WAITING ON BARCA

Barcelona have yet to make a move to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, according to the front page of Wednesday's Marca.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and his future is far from certain, having been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Led by new president Joan Laporta, Barca are determined to retain the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Ousmane Dembele wants to continue with Barca, but speculation is mounting that Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could return to Camp Nou. Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 – has been negotiating a new contract in the French capital. Dembele has previously been linked with Manchester United.

Manchester City are eyeing a new striker but they are unwilling to spend "crazy" money, claims Fabrizio Romano. With Sergio Aguero – linked with Chelsea, Inter, PSG and Barcelona – leaving on a free transfer, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has emerged as City's prime target, while Tottenham star Harry Kane is another option.

- Goal says Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli and Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi could swap clubs. Both players have struggled this season and they could reportedly be involved in an exchange deal. Romagnoli has attracted interest from Barca and Chelsea.

- Eurosport reports United and Liverpool could go head-to-head in a battle to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with Liverpool, but United are also interested. Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly are also reportedly being monitored at Old Trafford.

- Romano claims there are "huge chances" for Hector Bellerin to leave Arsenal. The Spaniard was previously linked with PSG and Barca.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola promised his semi-final hopefuls will not sit back against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

City will take a slender advantage into next week's return leg away to Dortmund after Phil Foden's 90th-minute winner secured a 2-1 victory in Manchester on Tuesday.

Dortmund captain Marco Reus had cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne's 19th-minute opener with six minutes remaining, before Foden restored City's lead at the death.

City have suffered consecutive quarter-final exits in the past three seasons – eliminated by Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon – but Guardiola insisted the Premier League leaders will continue to attack against Dortmund.

"Listen, when you play a game after 26 victories in the last 27 games and they are not winning in the Bundesliga and are seven points behind the Champions League places, the pressure is on our shoulders, not them," Guardiola told reporters.

"Everything is guaranteed for us. In this competition it's so tough and the opponents are so good, I've said in the news conference. Everybody believed and our players as well that we would win. We have an incredible commitment and desire to go through. Now we fly there at 2-1.

"We know that we have to score goals because they have the quality to score goals and always they score. We will adjust a few things we could not do today. We are going to reflect in a calm way, the best way possible, the game we played and see what we can do better and we are going to go there like we have done in the last four, five, six months – going there to win the game.

"I asked the players 'just win the game, I don't want anything else', we did it. Now we are going to Dortmund to absolutely not defend, we are going to adjust our high pressing, adjust our build up, control the runners and try to play 90 minutes to reach the semi-final."

Only Real Madrid (26) and Barcelona (20) have won more Champions League matches against German sides than City (13), winning 11 of their last 12 games against such opposition in the competition.

Since their first season in the Champions League in 2011-12, no side has scored more 90th-minute goals in the competition than City (17 – level with Madrid).

Guardiola – who refused to talk about the referees after City had a penalty overturned, while Dortmund were unfortunate to be denied a goal via Jude Bellingham – added: "I want to congratulate the players for a real Champions League match. How they stuck together. The quality of the opponent, not because we were not able to do it, how much we fought and stuck together to the end.

"We won the game, now we know each other quite well. They know us, but we know them. First Leeds, and then we will take time to see them and go there to win the game and get the result we need. Of course the victory is the best result we can do."

As for interim Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic, he said: "The second leg is in eight days. We know that Man City plays this kind of football in every game. Their principles won't change and therefore we will also find spaces to become dangerous again.

"We definitely believe now that we can move to the semis."

Jude Bellingham was frustrated to be denied a goal to crown a superb display during Borussia Dortmund's Champions League clash at Manchester City.

Premier League leaders City will take a 2-1 quarter-final advantage to Signal Iduna Park next week after Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute, shortly after Dortmund captain Marco Reus cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne's first-half opener.

But a major talking point came shortly before half-time when teenage midfielder Bellingham caught City goalkeeper Ederson in possession to be presented with an empty net, only for referee Ovidiu Hategan to penalise him for a perceived high boot.

Given the Romanian official blew his whistle before the 17-year-old slotted home, recourse to VAR was not on the agenda.

"I definitely think I won the ball fairly It's a bit frustrating at a time when they’ve got so many cameras watching the game that they don't wait for me to put it in the net and then check it," Bellingham told BT Sport.

"But it's football, it’s life and you've just got to get on with it.

"All I got told is I'd been booked and it was a free-kick to them. Apparently I had my studs up and caught the goalie and it was a foul."

Bellingham was also involved, alongside Erling Haaland, in the slick build-up for Reus' well-taken equaliser and he believes Edin Terzic's Dortmund have reasons to be optimistic ahead of the return clash against City, who have gone out at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons.

"I think we frustrated them well when we had the ball. At times they found it quite hard to break us down and we used the ball quite well, quite efficiently," he said.

"For our goal I think it's a brilliant but of play to put Marco in and it's a great finish.

"We're disappointed to concede so late but we'll use that away goal in the second leg and see what we can do."

Bellingham conceded it was an exhausting experience being pitted against the sublime De Bruyne, whose cross towards Ilkay Gundogan led to Foden's winner in Manchester.

"I'm knackered now. They're brilliant. They're one of the best teams in the world, if not the best," he added.

"The way they move the ball and the way they go to regain the ball after they lose it is world class.

"If you give De Bruyne that much room in the box he's going to score and if you give him that much time around the box he's going to put in a ball that damages us.

"I've got a bleeding knee from chasing him around!"

Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City felt pressure from their previous Champions League failures in a nervy 2-1 quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund.

Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute to ensure the Premier League leaders will take a slender advantage to Signal Iduna Park for next week's second leg.

Marco Reus had equalised four minutes from time for Dortmund, with City struggling to find their fluent best with any consistency after Kevin De Bruyne's first-half opener.

"We felt the pressure today for this competition at home. We don't know how we are going to play," Guardiola told BT Sport.

Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon have ended his team's involvement at this stage over the past three seasons.

"Now we know each other better," Guardiola said. "We are going to analyse what we have to do, like we have done for five or six months, playing every game to try to win."

Dortmund were understandably furious to have had an initial equaliser ruled out before half-time, when the impressive Jude Bellingham was harshly adjudged to have fouled City goalkeeper Ederson before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Guardiola suggested City's struggles that led to that let-off were part of a wider issue with their usually smooth build-up from deep failing to click – highlighting a tough outing for holding midfielder Rodri and full-back Joao Cancelo.

"To play good in the areas that we want, we need to make a good build-up and today was not good," Guardiola said.

"Joao and Rodri were not clever to receive the ball in positions to contact for the other ones. But it’s normal, Dortmund are strong. The quality that they have makes it difficult to do what we want to do.

"We are going to watch the game, now we know exactly what they do and now we are going to adjust a few things to go there to Germany and try to win the game."

Foden shone for his boyhood club throughout and was relieved to atone for a pair of missed chances that preceded Reus' leveller.

"Second half he was a threat for them. He played really well one-against-one, arriving in the final third," Guardiola added.

"He had two or three clear chances to score and finally he scored the goal."

Phil Foden gave Manchester City a slender 2-1 Champions League quarter-final advantage over Borussia Dortmund after Marco Reus snatched an away goal in a frantic finish at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne started and finished a rapid move to put City ahead in the 19th minute, but Dortmund were unfortunate to be behind at half-time after referee Ovidiu Hategan inexplicably penalised Jude Bellingham for a fair challenge on Ederson.

City belatedly hit their stride in the final quarter of the game, although Foden looked like being the villain as he missed two golden opportunities before Bellingham and Erling Haaland combined for Reus to coolly equalise six minutes from time.

Fortunately for the home team, England youngster Foden kept a cool head when Ilkay Gundogan knocked down De Bruyne's majestic cross in the 90th minute.

Ilkay Gundogan is concerned Bayern Munich's continued dominance of the Bundesliga will make German football less appealing to an international audience.

Manchester City midfielder Gundogan won the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund in 2012.

But Dortmund – who face City in a Champions League quarter-final first-leg on Tuesday – have not won the title since.

Bayern are closing in on a ninth consecutive domestic crown after beating closest challengers RB Leipzig 1-0 on Saturday, a result that came even as star striker Robert Lewandowski was injured.

Dortmund are usually among Bayern's closest challengers but this season they sit seven points outside the top four despite having prolific striker Erling Haaland in their ranks.

"In the Bundesliga I wish that Dortmund or RB Leipzig could at least compete with FC Bayern in the medium term," City star Gundogan said to Funke Media Group.

"Should Bayern continue to set themselves apart from the competition even further in the next few years, then we can assume that the league will unfortunately become less appealing and interesting to the international audience."

Gundogan and City are cruising to the Premier League title in England, but he feels the competition has a clear advantage on Germany.

He added: "I think that here in England we have more quality in the league.

"Not only at the top, but above all in the middle of the table for teams that don't play in Europe.

"The top teams have also been playing with the best coaches in the world for a long time."

City go into the last-eight tie as favourites, having won 10 of their last 11 Champions League matches against German opposition (D1).

But City have lost four of their five matches at the quarter-final stage of the Champions League under Pep Guardiola, going out at this stage in each of the previous three seasons.

And despite their domestic struggles, Dortmund have gone unbeaten in their past seven Champions League games (W5 D2).

It is their longest streak without defeat in the competition since a run between 2012 and 2013, when they went 11 games without defeat under Jurgen Klopp.

Haaland has 21 Bundesliga goals this season and has also netted in each of his last six Champions League appearances.

Should he find the net in this game, he will become just the fifth player in the competition's history to score in seven straight matches.

Tuesday heralds the start of the Champions League quarter-finals and there are two mouthwatering clashes in store.

With the Premier League title surely wrapped up, Manchester City's attention turns to Borussia Dortmund and the formidable threat posed by Erling Haaland. 

The 20-year-old is in demand, with City one of the clubs reportedly interested in his services, and he could join an illustrious group of goalscorers if he finds the net at the Etihad Stadium. 

The other game sees a repeat of the 2018 final, with Liverpool travelling to face Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid. 

The Reds have endured a torrid Premier League title defence, but a resounding win over Arsenal at the weekend could provide them with the impetus to produce an eye-catching result in the Spanish capital.

 

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund: Can Guardiola's stubborn defence keep Haaland out?

City's hopes of making the semi-finals could rest on keeping Haaland quiet. 

The Norway striker Haaland is the Champions League's top goalscorer this term, finding the back of the net 10 times.

If he scores in this game, he will become just the fifth player in the competition's history to score in seven matches in a row, after Cristiano Ronaldo (twice), Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

A goal on Tuesday would also take him to seven in his first five Champions League knockout matches for Dortmund, overtaking Lewandowski's record of six in his first five matches in the latter stages of the competition for Bayern Munich. 

He will come up against a defence in fine form, however. City have not conceded a goal in any of their last seven games in the Champions League – only Arsenal in 2005-06 have ever had a longer run of consecutive clean sheets in the competition (10).

City will also be buoyed by their excellent record against Bundesliga opposition, winning 10 of their last 11 Champions League matches against German sides. 

They will need to improve on a poor quarter-final record, though. City have lost four of their five matches in the last eight under Pep Guardiola, with the Premier League leaders going out at this stage in each of the last three seasons.

Prep done for Dortmund! 

  @marathonbet
  #ManCity   |   https://t.co/axa0klUGiM   pic.twitter.com/H85QRGPXxi

— Manchester City (@ManCity)   April 5, 2021

Real Madrid v Liverpool: Klopp's men hoping to halt losing streak against Los Blancos

This will be the first Champions League meeting between the two sides since Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 in the 2018 final. 

That was the Reds' third consecutive defeat to Los Blancos in the competition. They have only suffered four losses on the spin against the same opponent across all European competitions once before, with Benfica putting together such a streak between 1984 and 2010. 

The LaLiga champions will be in confident mood, having won the first leg in eight of their last nine Champions League knockout ties. 

Karim Benzema is likely to lead the line and the Frenchman has a stellar record against the Premier League outfit. In the history of the Champions League, no player has more goals against them than Benzema's four – level with Didier Drogba.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will hope to continue his fine recent record at this stage of the competition, the German winning each of his last five quarter-final games, including all four of his games at this stage while in charge of Liverpool.

Central to their hopes of taking a lead back to Anfield for the second leg will be Sadio Mane. The Senegal international has scored 19 goals in 40 games in the Champions League and could become just the third player in the club's history to reach 20 goals in the competition after Mohamed Salah (24) and Steven Gerrard (21).

David de Gea's future at Manchester United has been the topic of conversation for months.

The situation has become muddied in recent weeks during the Spaniard's period of paternity leave but De Gea is back in England and playing second fiddle to Dean Henderson.

De Gea has been at Old Trafford since 2011 but United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has started Henderson for seven games in a row.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA TO EXIT UNITED

De Gea's representatives are already sounding out potential buyers and he is set to leave Manchester United this off-season, according to the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old is contracted with the Red Devils although no transfer fee has been mentioned yet.

The report claims Real MadridParis Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid are potentially interested clubs.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports Barcelona will continue to pursue Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland but a source has said a deal will be "very difficult".

- Tottenham defender Juan Foyth is on loan at Villarreal this season and the Spanish club want to sign him permanently for less than the €15.3million (£13m) option fee, according to Football Insider.

Jerome Boateng will leave Bayern Munich as a free agent at the end of this season with the club opting not to offer him a new contract, reports Kicker.

- Sky Sports are claiming that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to ink a one-year extension with Milan.

Erling Haaland remains content amid swirling transfer rumours ahead of Borussia Dortmund's Champions League showdown with Manchester City.

Premier League leaders City are one of a host of clubs to have been linked with the 20-year-old Norway striker.

Speculation over a blockbuster close-season transfer mounted during the international break when Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, accompanied his father – and former City player – Alf-Inge on trips to Madrid and Barcelona.

Speaking on the eve of Tuesday's quarter-final clash at the Etihad Stadium, Dortmund interim boss Edin Terzic insisted such matters could not be ones to cause him too much concern.

"It has no impact on me because I can't stop Mino Raiola and Alfie Haaland from travelling. It's up to them, they're grown-ups and they can choose whatever they want to do," he said.

"I just can have an impact on Erling and we are happy to have him in our team.

"He's been back with us since last Thursday, when he came back from the Norway national team

"The feeling we had from the start was that he was very happy to see us and we're very happy to have him around.

"He's a lovely guy, his qualities are well known all over the world and we are proud and happy he's part of our team."

Haaland has scored 33 goals in 32 club appearances across all competitions this season, although he will not have Jadon Sancho to provide service in the first leg.

Former City youngster Sancho has remained in Germany for treatment on a thigh problem and Terzic conceded next week's second leg could also come too soon for the England winger – another presumed transfer target for some of Europe's big hitters.

"He started with a bit of running for the last couple of days and we hope that it won't take a long time to get back to team training, but he won't be ready for the next week, let's say," Terzic said.

“For the future it's hard to tell. First of all, we still have seven games left in the Bundesliga to qualify for the Champions League.

"Of course it's a bit difficult now at the minute, but it's still possible. We're going to try our best to make it possible and then at the end of the season we'll see what's going to happen next."

Dortmund's dwindling domestic form – a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last time out left them seven points behind their weekend opponents in the Bundesliga's final Champions League qualification spot – has left them with nowhere to hide from criticism and Terzic was in no mood to unduly protect his players.

"We are disappointed with the performance and Saturday's result. The criticism has been justified," he added.

"We've shown before we can do better and the task now is to face that criticism, to accept it and show a reaction on the pitch.

"We have to prove we don't give up and show our quality and potential again. We are responsible for showing that.

"We haven't been able to over the last weeks and that's why the criticism is justified."

Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund's keenly anticipated Champions League quarter-final could hinge on the battle between Erling Haaland and Ruben Dias.

That is the view of former City favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips, who anticipates an intriguing contest due to the attacking firepower boasted by both sides.

Norway youngster Haaland has rattled home a remarkable 33 goals in 32 appearances across all competitions this season, averaging a goal every 82.8 minutes thanks to a shot conversion rate of 31.4 per cent.

The 20-year-old has also supplied seven assists, although he will be faced with one of Europe's most formidable centre-backs in Dias.

If speculation proves accurate, Haaland might replace the Portugal defender as City's record signing at the end of the campaign but Dias' impact has been undeniably transformative since his arrival from Benfica last September.

City have won 31 of the 39 games in which Dias has played, losing only two and conceding 18 goals – an average of 0.5 per game.

"It's going to be hard, it's going to be a great battle for me between [Haaland] and Dias," Wright-Phillips, who played alongside Haaland's father Alf-Inge during his time at City, told Stats Perform.

"Dias doesn't like to lose, let alone concede goals – he hates that as well so it will be a good competition.

"And it stands out to be a good game, with the firepower and the way Dortmund play, and the way City play.

"So it’s going to be a good footballing match and I am looking forward and am very excited to see it myself."

Another intriguing battle that fans will be denied is a face off between England youngsters Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho in each team's creative departments.

Foden and Sancho were team-mates in City's youth team before the latter moved to Dortmund in 2017, where he has scarcely looked back.

Remaining with his boyhood club, Foden had to bide his time among a talent-stacked squad but has established himself as a key man for both Pep Guardiola and England boss Gareth Southgate this season.

However, a thigh injury means Sancho will miss out on a return to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday and faces a race to be fit for next week's return at Signal Iduna Park.

"It would be great to see them both on the field. But they’re very different players," Wright-Phillips said.

"Although [Foden] does go and dribble past people, he’s got a very good eye in seeing passes, linking up play and he presses harder.

"I think Sancho is a very, very good player as well but he's more of a dribbler, committing players, taking them on, putting the ball into the box and also scoring goals."

Along with Liverpool, who take on 13-time winners Real Madrid this week, Chelsea – another of Wright-Phillips' former clubs – complete a trio of Premier League sides in the last eight.

Thomas Tuchel's men saw off Atletico Madrid in impressive fashion in the previous round, although they must bounce back from a shock 5-2 weekend loss to relegation-threatened West Brom before taking on Porto.

"As we know it’s one of the toughest competitions," Wright-Phillips added. "And on the few times City have been on a run in it, they have not had the rub of the green.

"And Chelsea had been playing well with their defensive record, also. I would be happy if it was an all-England final, so I'll be supporting all English teams in Europe."

Pep Guardiola is primed for Manchester City's showdown with Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund, suggesting even a blind person could see the Norwegian's talents.

City host Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, with Haaland unsurprisingly one of the main topics of conversation.

The Norway star has been in lethal form ever since joining Dortmund in January 2020 and boasts a remarkable haul of 10 goals in six Champions League outings this term, including two in each of their meetings with Sevilla in the last round as the German's narrowly progressed 5-4 on aggregate.

Since then, reports linking Haaland with Europe's biggest clubs have been frequent, as Barcelona and Real Madrid seemingly positioned themselves as interested parties following meetings with his agent Mino Raiola.

While City – whom his father Alf-Inge Haaland played for – have been rather more coy on the matter, few strikers have been focused on as much as Haaland with respect to potential replacements for Sergio Aguero following last week's announcement of his end-of-season departure.

After all, in the spell since Haaland scored a 23-minute hat-trick on his Dortmund debut, his 49 goals across all competitions has been bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (67) and Cristiano Ronaldo (52) among players in the top five leagues. City's leading scorers in the same period are Raheem Sterling (24) and Gabriel Jesus (22).

Guardiola appreciates Haaland is a fine talent, though he would not be lured into making any grand statements about a potential future for him at City.

When asked if Haaland was the sort of player who could command a transfer few of over £100million, Guardiola said: "I don't know, it's a question for Dortmund, his agent.

"I understand completely why people ask about Haaland, of course he's an exceptional striker, but it's not appropriate for me to talk about a player for another club.

"All I can say is he's an exceptional striker. The numbers speak for themselves. A fantastic player, that's all."

 

On those "numbers", Guardiola was pressed for an opinion on how City might be able to stop Haaland, given his conversion rate of 33.6 per cent is better than any other player in the top five leagues with 20 goals or more since his Dortmund bow.

For comparison, Bayern Munich's Lewandowski – widely regarded as the best striker around – has converted 27.8 per cent of his chances over the same period.

"The striker who scores goals, they are going to score when they are in our box," Guardiola continued. "If they're far away from our box, they have fewer chances. It's a question of mathematics.

"Not just Haaland. [Jamie] Vardy, [Sadio] Mane, Aguero, all the strikers, they want to be there [in the box] as much as possible. This is the best way is to avoid [conceding].

"In that age to score that amount of goals is not easy to find in the past, honestly, so I think he's 20 – the numbers speak for themselves.

"He can score right [foot], left, on the counter-attack, in the box when you dominate, headers. He's a fantastic striker, everyone knows it.

"A blind guy could realise he's a great striker. It is not necessary to be a manager to realise that."

Keeping Haaland quiet will surely go a long way to ensuring City finally get past the quarter-finals, having been knocked out at this stage in each of the past three seasons, losing four of their five games at this point.

Youssoufa Moukoko's record-breaking season is over after suffering ligament damage in his foot, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed.

Moukoko became the youngest player in the Bundesliga's history last November when making his debut the day after his 16th birthday.

The Germany youth international had long been considered a big prospect at Dortmund, having set a number of records in the club's academy despite generally playing several age groups up.

Even before he turned 16, Moukoko was training with the first-team and he soon followed up his Bundesliga record by also becoming the Champions League's youngest-ever player (16 years, 18 days).

Edin Terzic handed him a first Bundesliga start after replacing the sacked Lucien Favre, and he subsequently became the German top-flight's youngest scorer a few days later in a 2-1 defeat to Union Berlin.

He is by far the most junior player to have featured across Europe's top five leagues this term (16y, 136d) – Tottenham's Dane Scarlett is the second youngest (17y, 12d).

There are also only four players who are still teenagers that have bettered his haul of three league goals – Florian Wirtz and Ansu Fati have four, Bukayo Saka has five and Arnaud Kalimuendo is out in front on six.

But Moukoko will not be adding any more to his tally this term, owing to a foot injury.

A brief statement released on Twitter read: "Youssoufa Moukoko is out for the rest of the season with a ligament injury in his foot.

"Get well soon, boy!"

Moukoko suffered the injury ahead of Germany's European Under-21 Championship group stage match against Hungary.

While it was initially thought the issue would only keep him out of Germany's following two games, it turned out to be rather more serious.

Dortmund look likely to miss out on Champions League football next season, with BVB fifth on 43 points, trailing Eintracht Frankfurt by seven points with as many matches left.

Borussia Dortmund do not have an "alternative plan" should Erling Haaland leave the club, but they would listen to an "exceptional" offer for Jadon Sancho, according to managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Norway international Haaland is in high demand after netting 49 goals in 50 appearances for Dortmund, attracting interest from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Manchester United.

He has scored 21 goals in 22 Bundesliga games this term, adding another 10 from six games in the Champions League, a competition in which he tops the scoring charts.

Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, is reported to have been in contact with a number of clubs as speculation over the 20-year-old's future grows.

But, according to Watzke, the Bundesliga outfit are not prepared to envisage life without him.

"We do not have a parallel plan," he told Goal. "We will discuss this in peace with Erling, his father and his advisor Mino Raiola. 

"We also want him to be happy to stay with us, to score goals for BVB next year with conviction. There is no alternative plan."

Another player heavily linked with a move away from the club is England international Sancho. 

Manchester United were reported to be close to a deal for the 21-year-old before the start of the 2020-21 season, but Sancho stayed in Germany. 

He has played 31 games across all competitions this term, scoring 12 goals. 

While Watzke expects a quiet off-season following the turmoil inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, he said the club would not dismiss a significant bid for Sancho.  

Asked what the likelihood of Haaland and Sancho both playing for Dortmund next season is, Watzke responded: "I'm not getting involved in probabilities, it's no good. 

"Jadon Sancho has been with us much longer than Erling Haaland. We'll have to speak to Jadon, too. If there is an exceptional offer, we will discuss it with the player and the agent, as always. 

"Nonetheless, I am very sure that the transfer market will only run to a very limited extent this summer. Especially with the really big clubs, you can see what kind of wounds coronavirus has inflicted. They are not small ones that heal within two weeks."

Dortmund travel to Manchester City for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Tuesday.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.