Erling Haaland struggled to make his mark during Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final loss to Manchester City on Tuesday night.
But he didn’t leave the Etihad without signing his name – in an incident that left Pep Guardiola baffled.
Guardiola’s pursuit of a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero may well lead him to Dortmund’s most wanted.
But if this summer Haaland sits in an Etihad boardroom and puts pen-to-paper on a mega-money City contract, he knows that it won’t be the first time.
Instead, the first man to get Haaland’s signature down at the Etihad was Sebastian Georghe, the Romanian assistant referee.
As Haaland made his way up the tunnel following BVB’s 2-1 loss to City – Phil Foden’s late winner handing the home side the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg – Georghe stopped to wait for Haaland.
He then pulled his notepad out his pocket before handing a pen to the 20-year-old in an incident that, both baffling and which, ultimately, doesn’t matter all that much, won’t be looked upon kindly by UEFA.
Owen Hargreaves, working for BT Sport, wasn’t pleased however, stating: “They had a job to do and they had a really difficult first half, they got a lot of things wrong.
“They are a fan, but you can’t do that in front of other players.
“It just doesn’t look right.”
Former City defender Joleon Lescott added: “There is never a right time for that.
“It just doesn’t look right or bode well for the officials and the set up. It’s a childish thing to see.”
City boss Guardiola had a different, far less bothered take on the incident, which took full view in front of his players.
Much less serious than the punditry pair, he said: “They [his players] told me that. Maybe he’s a fan of Haaland.
“Maybe it was for his son or daughter.
“I’ve never seen it before, but the referee and the linesman were correct, they did a good job. That’s all.”
Despite his claims about City’s spending plans, he’ll be hoping to see Haaland’s signature more closely in the not-too-distant future.
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