Erling Haaland confirms the Champions League anthem is his ringtone… a song Manchester City fans regularly boo due to their long-running gripes with UEFA
- City finally announced they had signed Erling Haaland for £51million on Monday
- The 21-year-old striker has given his first interview since joining the club
- He confirmed rumours that the Champions League anthem was his ringtone
- City fans will be hoping his arrival can deliver the club’s first Champions League title
Manchester City fans would have no doubt been delighted to see Erling Haaland finally unveiled in the club’s shirt – but one quote in his first interview may not go down well with supporters at the Etihad.
Haaland, speaking to club media after City finally announced on Monday that they had signed the hottest prospect in world football on a five-year contract for £51million, confirmed the Champions League anthem is his ringtone.
Asked whether the pre-match music was his ringtone for a while, Haaland replied: ‘Yeah, it still is!’
Erling Haaland has given his first interview since signing for Manchester City for £51million
Haaland confirmed rumours that the Champions League anthem is the ringtone on his mobile
The music, played before every game in UEFA’s premier club competition, is often booed by City fans following several clashes with European football’s governing body in recent years.
A change to UEFA’s rules in 2017 allowed fans to boo the anthem and it has been a regular feature of Champions League games at the Etihad since.
City were initially banned from the Champions League by UEFA’s Financial Control Body in February 2020 following Der Spiegel’s publication of leaked emails, which suggested that City’s commercial figures were inflated by Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group to circumnavigate Financial Fair Play rules.
That decision was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July 2020, because much of the evidence fell outside of a time limit. CAS decided the case against City hadn’t been established by the emails that were within the five-year limit.
Manchester City fans have made their ill-feeling towards UEFA known vocally in the past
City fans are free to boo the Champions League anthem after UEFA’s change of rules in 2017
The club has long-running grievances and issues with European football’s governing body
But City’s grievances with UEFA go back further than the CAS case.
In October 2015, the organisation opened disciplinary proceedings against the club for ‘disruption of the competition anthem’ after City fans booed the pre-match music before a Champions League match against Sevilla, although a disciplinary panel later imposed no punishment.
The main cause of their anger at the time was UEFA’s decision to impose a £49million fine and limit City’s Champions League squad for breaching Financial Fair Play rules in 2014, with City seeing FFP as an attempt to block their entry into Europe’s elite.
City were also furious that CSKA Moscow escaped punishment in October 2014 when 300 home fans were allowed to watch a Champions League match in Russia despite UEFA ordering the game to be played behind closed doors because of a series of crowd disturbances involving CSKA supporters.
Booing the Champions League anthem is a regular occurrence at the Etihad Stadium
City suffered a dramatic Champions League exit in the semi-finals at the hands of Real Madrid
The sense of frustration among City fans dates back to 2012 when Porto were fined only £18,000 after their fans racially abused Mario Balotelli in a Europa League game, but City were hit with a £27,000 fine the following month when their players came out a minute late for the second half against Sporting Lisbon.
City will be hopeful the signing of Haaland will deliver the club’s first Champions League title.
The reigning Premier League champions were favourites for the European crown but were beaten by eventual winners Real Madrid in a dramatic semi-final.
Haaland is the fastest and youngest player to reach 20 goals in the Champions League and it is a competition he says he loves playing in.
‘I always like the Champions League and it is a bit more special in my eyes,’ he said.
Haaland was finally announced as a City player on Monday after signing a five-year contract
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