Erling Braut Haaland has an unusual footballing hero in ex-Swansea star Michu

By Ciaran VarleyBBC Sport
Erling Braut Haaland Michu
Erling Braut Haaland and his hero Michu

Erling Braut Haaland is one of the hottest young football talents on the planet. He has nine goals in six games, since signing for Borussia Dortmund. Ten goals in seven Champions League games. Six hat-tricks and he is only 19 years old.

It's obnoxiously good really.

So, who does a supreme talent like this consider to be his footballing idol? Messi? Ronaldo? Maybe his dad Alf-Inge, who played for Leeds United?


Try one Miguel Perez Cuesta - or Michu, to me and thee.

Turns out that Haaland is a big fan of the Spanish former Swansea City midfielder. The then-26-year-old Michu completed a move from Rayo Vallecano to the Welsh side for around £2m in 2012 and became a fan favourite, scoring 22 goals in 43 appearances during that first season and winning the League Cup.

It's not exactly scoring in the Champions League to beat Paris St-Germain, which Haaland achieved recently, but Michu obviously made a big impression on the Norwegian when he was younger.

Back in 2016, young Erling used to even tag himself as Michu on Instagram

Erling Haaland and teammates, Bryne FK, 2016
A young "Michu" and teammates, Bryne FK, 2016

By that time, Michu's career was in its winter - he retired in 2017 after struggling with an ankle injury.

The 33-year-old former striker is now a managing director at Burgos CF. He told Spanish paper ASexternal-link that is was an honour to be revered by a rising talent like Haaland, saying: "He is a much better player than me".

Michu may not have total monopoly on Haaland's affections though. Asked recently about his inspirations, he gave a slightly more conventional answer, citing Cristiano Ronaldoexternal-link.

"I would love to meet him and tell him that I am a footballer thanks to him," he said. "For me, he was always a model."

Probably not beyond the realms of imagination that they might face one another at some point. Or even play together.

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