Erling Haaland's relationship with Leeds explained
Festive fixtures are always that little bit more special, but as Leeds United prepare to host Manchester City on Wednesday, one man will be buzzing for the occasion more than any other.
Erling Haaland has always been tied with the city of Leeds and the football that's played there.
So, how can a Norwegian international that rose to fame with RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, before earning a blockbuster move to Man City, have such a close relationship with Leeds United?
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Why does Erling Haaland have a close relationship with Leeds?
Well, it all comes down to his birth, really. In July 2000, the Norwegian international was born in the city, before his father Alfie transferred from Leeds to Man City.
The striker, therefore, has always been inherently linked to the city and the football club, and has previously confirmed his love of Leeds United.
Aged 16, Haaland explained how his career would pan out in a fairytale scenario, claiming that "the dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds".
Is Erling Haaland a Leeds United fan?
If you thought it was just fun and games, you'd have been proved wrong in 2021 when the striker was filmed signing autographs from his car window while at Dortmund.
Haaland is clearly wearing club kit from the waist up but is sporting Leeds shorts as he signs a fan's sticker album.
It's not often global superstars make a beeline for Stuart Dallas' shirt at the end of a game, either - but that's exactly what Haaland did after Norway's 5-1 victory over Northern Ireland the year before the above image was captured.
"I’m not one for swapping shirts,” Dallas told talkSPORT after the defeat. “I like to keep my own shirt, no matter who I play against.
“He walked behind me and asked about swapping shirts. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, because we’d just been beaten 5-1 and I’m laughing on camera. It probably didn’t look too good. I thought he meant inside, but he shouted at me and asked to do it now.
“We did it and then he leaned into me and said, ‘Marching on together!' It was a bit strange. I’ve known the Leeds connection with his father and it was nice he wanted my shirt.”
Fanboying Stuart Dallas... he must be a Leeds fan.
Will Erling Haaland play against Leeds United?
Manchester City returned from the World Cup break with an exciting 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, in which Haaland took just ten minutes to get back in amongst the goals. So, yes, the Norwegian will likely start once more as City return to Premier League action at Elland Road on Wednesday.
Indeed, it's a special occasion that Haaland has been looking forward to for quite a while, as his former Salzburg boss and now-Leeds boss Jesse Marsch has revealed.