Video Shows Haaland Giving An Autograph to Champions League Assistant Ref

by S. Ateljevic  ·  April 12, 2021

An assistant referee was caught on video asking Erling Haaland for an autograph after the Borussia Dortmund – Manchester City Champions League match on Tuesday. The Romanian referee followed Borussia Dortmund’s striker down the tunnel after the game, where it appears he asked him to sign the red and yellow card he had in his pocket.

The game ended with Manchester City winning 2-1, but the match was not without controversy. The referee team made two glaring mistakes in the first half, which in the eyes of some analysts made the autograph incident even worse.

The first mistake occurred when Borussia’s midfielder Jude Bellingham beat the goalkeeper to the ball and scored a goal. The ref called a foul on the goalie and gave Bellingham a yellow card. The video replay showed no foul, but since the game had stopped once the foul was called, the decision was not overturned. The second mistake happened when the referee team called a penalty for Man City. Luckily, this was overturned by employing VAR technology.

The event effectively robbed Borussia Dortmund of an equaliser in the first half. The team managed to score in the 84th minute when Haaland assisted the team’s captain, Marco Reus. However, Manchester’s midfielder, Philip Foden, scored 6 minutes later for a final tally of 2-1. After such a close and interesting game, all bets are off for the second leg, as the pendulum might swing either way.

The reactions to the autograph incident were divided. Former Premier League stars Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott criticised the move, with Hargreaves saying: “They had a difficult first half, and they got a lot of things wrong. You can be a fan, but you can’t do that in front of the other players; it just doesn’t look right.”

On the other hand, Man City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, defended the referee, stating: “Why not? The referees were brilliant, the game was not a problem. Not a penalty, the VAR said that. And the leg is higher from Bellingham. So they were perfect, and it was correct. Maybe it was for his son or daughter. It happens, but they did a good job, that’s all. Nothing happened.”

Of course, Guardiola has every reason to be satisfied with the end result, as it wasn’t his team that was robbed of a goal. On top of that, Manchester City is looking to buy Haaland in the next transfer window, but the competition for the rising Norweigan player will be stiff. The striker is the first to score twenty goals in the Champions League before turning 21, and he won the Golden Boot at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

As for the two teams, we’ll have to wait and see how everything plays out in the second leg. Looking at betting odds, it seems most people think Manchester City is a clear favourite to win the tournament.