Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is on-course to smash the Golden Boot record and lay down the most prolific goal scoring season English football has seen in decades.
The 22-year-old is currently at 25 goals this season - two more than last year’s Golden Boot winners - and the Norwegian shows no signs of slowing down. This is of little surprise, as Haaland’s goals-to-game ratio in Germany was astonishing, and his record for Norway was nothing short of mind-blowing.
In fact, some have already started comparing Haaland not to his peers, but to some of the greatest players of all-time. Dixie Dean, who lived between 1907 and 19890, is the latest player to be examined versus the Norwegian giant.
About Dixie Dean
For those who don’t know, Dixie Dean was an English centre-forward whose best years were at Everton. In the 1927/28 season, Dean bagged an incredible 60 goals in 39 league appearances, a record that will most likely never be broken, or even approached.
The current goal scoring record for a modern, 38-game Premier League season is held by Mohamed Salah, who bagged 32 goals in 2017/18. This is the record to compare Haaland to, and the Dixie Dean comparisons are nothing short of absurd.
Haaland is a truly great goalscorer and he’s already proved that he can hang with the best of them. As the Norwegian matures, I’m sure we’ll see different elements of his game develop and he’ll get better and better.
I have no bad things to say about Haaland and his explosion onto the English football scene, but the comparisons to Dixie Dean are absolutely outrageous.
Firstly, Dean played in an era where the game was far more physical and pitches were of incomprehensible quality. The Everton legend didn’t have the benefit of detailed video analysis lessons, custom-built fitness programs, elite international players alongside him, or hundreds of thousands of pounds a week in his bank account.
Dean also played in at a much harder time in world history - playing through both the Great Depression and the Second World War. Whilst there's nothing Haaland can do about that, it’s worth stating that footballers back then did not have the easy ride they do today.
I understand why people are comparing the two in terms of stats, but let’s not kid ourselves and pretend Manchester City’s marksman is the second coming of Dixie Dean. Such comparisons are disrespectful to both players, and I’d be amazed if modern football fans even know who Dean was.
Dixie Dean was eulogised as someone more comparable to Shakespeare and Beethoven rather than other footballers. As good as Haaland is, this may just be the most ridiculous comparison I’ve heard this year, and it’s only February.
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