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Football Manager 21 stories: When will Erling Haaland win the Ballon d’Or?

By Squawka News

Football Manager 21 stories: When will Erling Haaland win the Ballon d'Or?

Published: 18:46, 7 January 2021

Not many people had a 2020 to remember, but Erling Haaland did.

In fact, since scoring nine (NINE!) goals in a single game at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, the Norwegian goal machine has smashed record after record on his way to becoming one of the most prolific strikers in Europe at just 20 years old.

A hat-trick on his Champions League debut was followed by another on his first appearance in a Borussia Dortmund shirt. Then he became the youngest player to score 10 Champions League goals and also the quickest to do so, needing just seven appearances in the competition to reach double figures.

In 2020 alone, Haaland scored 39 times in 37 games for club and country and was named European Golden Boy in November 2020. So, we decided to boot up Football Manager and ‘sim’ 10 years into the future to see if a Ballon d’Or would follow. Or rather, when.

Or rather, how many.

2020/21

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Borussia Dortmund
  • Value: £63m
  • Media description: Wonderkid
  • International goals: 3 (3 caps)
  • Best Attributes: | Finishing: 18 | Off The Ball: 18 | Pace: 18 | Penalty Taking: 17
  • Ballon d’Ors: 0

Naturally at the start of the 2020/21 season Haaland is yet to get his hands on the Ballon d’Or, but with a value of £63m at just 20 years of age and some outrageously high stats, it almost seems a foregone conclusion that BVB’s Norwegian wunderkind will at some point clinch the coveted accolade.

2022/23

  • Age: 22
  • Club: PSG
  • Value: £89m
  • Media description: Elite striker
  • International goals: 29 (32 caps)
  • Best Attributes: | Finishing: 19 | Off The Ball: 19 | Pace: 18 | Penalty Taking: 18 | Balance: 18 | Anticipation: 18
  • Ballon d’Ors: 1

Fast forward three seasons and Haaland traded the Ruhr district for glittering nights at the Parc des Princes, completing a £102m move to PSG. The now 22-year-old can no longer be considered a precocious goalscorer but rather, a world-class striker, collecting the 2022 Ballon d’Or to cement his status as Europe’s best, beating Manchester United’s Martin Odegaard and Real Madrid’s Mohamed Salah in the process.

2026/27

Real Madrid’s abundance of attacking riches in 2026/27

  • Age: 26
  • Club: Real Madrid
  • Value: £129m
  • Media description: Elite striker
  • International goals: 51 (73 caps)
  • Best Attributes: | Finishing: 19 | Off The Ball: 19 | Penalty Taking: 18 | Balance: 18 | Anticipation: 18
  • Ballon d’Ors: 3

Skipping ahead a few years and super agent Mino Raiola managed worked his magic yet again, engineering an eye-watering move from PSG to Real Madrid, fulfilling Florentino Perez’s ‘galactico’ fantasies no doubt. At 26, the goalscoring fiend is valued at a jaw-dropping £129m and has three Ballon d’Ors to his name, collecting back-to-back awards in 2025 and 2026 for separate clubs (PSG and Los Blancos respectively), while also pipping teammate Kylian Mbappe to the post in the latter year.

2030/31

  • Age: 30
  • Club: Real Madrid
  • Value: £93m
  • Media description: Legendary striker
  • International goals: 103 (114 caps)
  • Best Attributes: | Finishing: 19 | Off The Ball: 19 | Penalty Taking: 18 | Balance: 18 | Anticipation: 18 | Pace: 18 | Composure: 18
  • Ballon d’Ors: 6

And now a full decade into the future and Haaland has earned his right to be called a ‘legendary striker’. A 30-year-old Haaland boasts stats that are simply off the charts, taking over the Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or hegemony and monopolising the annual accolade himself.

In 10 years, Haaland clinched the prize six times, including five on the trot between 2025 and 2028, while also collecting a further award in 2030 to ring in the new decade. His only usurper in that time was ‘regen’ Zebenzui for Manchester City, while teammate Mbappe could only sit in the shadows and collect a panoply of runners-up medals.

In 2030, the Frenchman once again finished second in the standings, while a certain Jude Bellingham, now donning the Real insignia finished third. Across those 10 years, though, Haaland went from household wonderkid to global superstar, netting a century of goals for Norway, but quite incredibly, never winning the Champions League. I’m sure the six Ballon d’Ors soothed the pain, mind.

Check out the full video on Haaland’s FM21 journey on Squawka’s YouTube channel below, and subscribe for more football content!