FANS reckon they know why Pep Guardiola substituted Erling Haaland before he could score a double hat-trick. against RB Leipzig
Manchester City thrashed the German side 7-0 at the Etihad last night, progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals 8-1 on aggregate.
Haaland was in red-hot form, scoring five times during the rout.
When the Norwegian netted his fifth after just 57 minutes, an unprecedented double hat-trick appeared to be on the cards.
But Guardiola subbed off the 22-year-old just six minutes later, replacing him with Julian Alvarez.
No player has ever scored six times in a Champions League match.
Haaland tied the record last night at five, going level with former Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano… and Lionel Messi.
Fans online outlandishly claimed after the match that Guardiola removed rampant Haaland in order to protect his old favourite’s record.
One jokingly mocked: “A proud Messi fan, he doesn’t hide it.”
A second cheekily added: “Pep is Lionel Messi’s biggest fan. The Haaland substitution confirms it.”
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Just prior to the change, another had tweeted: “Pep Guardiola if you truly are a ride or die Messi fan you will sub off Haaland RIGHT NOW.”
Another joked: “Pep subbed Haaland to protect Messi’s record.”
Asked about denying Haaland a shot at the record after the game, Guardiola said: “If he would have achieved that at 22-years-old, he would be bored in his future!”
Messi netted five times in a round of 16 clash with Bayer Leverkusen in 2012, while Luiz Adriano repeated the feat against BATE Borisov in the 2015 group stage.
Chatting to BT Sport about his centre-forward, Guardiola added: “Five in 60 minutes. Incredible guy, huge talent. Power, mentality, he’s a serial winner. Really good.”
Guardiola, 52, was in a mischievous mood after the game.
He joked that he would always “feel like a failure” irrespective of whether he wins the Champions League again – because Julia Roberts once snubbed City during a trip to Manchester to watch United instead.