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From asking for his shirt to fighting for the European crown: Haaland and the scorer’s duel with Benzema

Somewhere special must be the green shirt that Erling Haaland exchanged with Karim Benzema four years ago. It was in a friendly match, but now more than favors, what both are looking for is to beat the other in the duel between Real Madrid and Manchester City for the Champions League semifinals (2 pm, live on ESPN).

And this match was signed with a goal guarantee. On the one hand, the experience of Benzema, the leader of a Real Madrid that defends his crown. On the other, the youth of Haaland, the executioner at Manchester City who is seeking Champions League glory for the first time.

But it is the previous step. This afternoon they meet for the first semifinal, in a duel spiced up by the rematch from last year, when the white team incredibly came back from the series to reach the final. And with the curiosity that always generates seeing Guardiola at the Bernabéu.

duel of scorers

Haaland will have in front of the player a player he admires and whom he asked for his shirt four years ago. “Look at Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. He is now 34 years old and has suddenly become an even better player in recent seasons. That is incredible, I always want to do thatsaid the Norwegian last year when he had signed for City. Nine months later, soccer confronts them.

In 2019, Real Madrid played a friendly in August of that year against Salzburg, where Haaland began his second season in the Austrian team. It was 1-0 away with a goal from Hazard from a pass from Benzema. The blonde Haaland was the 30th of the locals and when the players went to the locker room for halftime, he took the opportunity to exchange shirts with the Frenchman.

Haaland only played the first half of that friendly. For the second half, Patson Daka took his place on the field, so the scorer has only been able to face the whites for 45 minutes, since Salzgurbo played the second half with another eleven.

And their figures are in top form. Benzema has just scored against Liverpool in the round of 16 (3) and Chelsea in the quarterfinals (1), and Haaland scored five against Leipzig and two against Bayern in the same instances. And if that weren’t enough, they are the top scorers of the year, with 24 for City and 21 for Madrid.

And they are not the only ones to stand out in front of the goal, since the top assistants of this 2023 play at their side. Vinícius has 14 goal passes compared to Kevin de Bruyne’s 12. We are talking about lethal duos that will be face to face.

The Santiago Bernabéu will experience another of those matches that may remain to be remembered in the history of the Champions League. Haaland faces them for the first time in an official match – in the friendly with Salzburg in 2019 he only played the first half – and will seek to leave his mark to tell the world that he is the new soccer star. At home, Real appeals to its old guardians like Benzema, Modric and Kross and bets on its own already consolidated youngsters like Vinícius and Rodrygo.

It is the first leg, but a large part of the history of this duel can be defined at any minute.

Source: Elcomercio

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