Pep Guardiola denies rumors of a release clause from Real Madrid for Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola dismissed reports of a release clause in Erling Haaland’s contract after watching his star striker add two more goals to his season tally in the first half of Manchester City’s 5-0 defeat by FC Copenhagen.

After Sunday’s hat-trick against Manchester United, Haaland scored City’s opening two goals before David Khocholava scored an own goal and then scored Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez in the second half.

Such was City’s dominance that Guardiola pulled Haaland back at half-time after watching him score his 18th and 19th goals of the season for City.

The day had started with reports in Spain that a clause in the 22-year-old’s contract would give Real Madrid a free hand to sign him as early as 2024, but Guardiola said there was nothing to the report.

“That’s not true,” said the city boss. “He has no release clause for Real Madrid or any other team.

“The rumors and people talk, we can’t control it. I always worry about what we can control.

“What’s important is that he’s adjusted really well, we feel like he’s happy here. We will try to make him and everyone who wants to stay happy.

“In the future, no one knows, but he’s happy, he’s settled in perfectly, he’s incredibly loved and that’s the most important thing.”

Guardiola said the decision to replace Haaland with Cole Palmer at the break wasn’t pre-planned but with City already leading 3-0 five minutes before the break he took the opportunity to give him a breather ahead of Saturday to treat yourself to Premier League game against Southampton.

“He played a lot of minutes,” said Guardiola. “Obviously Cole Palmer is an excellent player, I’m looking forward to him playing.

“If the game was tight Erling will keep playing but after that it’s better to rest and think about Southampton, a team we couldn’t beat last season.”

There were suggestions the decision could have signaled an injury for Haaland, but after returning to the bench late in the second half, the Norwegian ran onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate with his team-mates before jogging around and applauding fans.

Haaland might have been disappointed he didn’t get the opportunity to aim for another hat-trick, but when he did it didn’t show.

“Erling wants the same thing as all of us – to win the game,” said Guardiola. “He did the hat tricks to win those games. Of course, if he had played another 45 minutes, he would have had more chances, but we need everyone involved.”

Guardiola had made five changes since the derby win on Sunday. Aymeric Laporte made his first start of the season from injury, joining forces with returning Ruben Dias in defense while Alvarez, Mahrez and Sergio Gomez also came.

“It’s not about resting players,” said Guardiola. “It’s about a squad of 20 players, not just 11. That was the best pick to win the game because we need players everywhere in this tight, tight schedule.

“That was an excellent result and a better performance. People say: “This is Copenhagen”, but they defended really well, but we play the movements with and without the ball.

“Today we see the reason for the success of this club. There were a lot of compliments after Man United’s 6-3, but we’re humble enough to respect Copenhagen. That’s the secret of this team. The work ethic in training, everyone is focused, everyone is paying attention.

“That’s why we’re there every three days this season and in previous seasons with key players. This is the biggest title we can get. Beyond the Premier League, Champions League, everything. This is the best.” Pep Guardiola denies rumors of a release clause from Real Madrid for Erling Haaland

Fry Electronics Team

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