Soccer's most sought-after young player is already such a big deal that even referees are asking for his autograph

Soccer's most sought-after young player is already such a big deal that even referees are asking for his autograph
Erling Braut Haaland.Getty/Nick Potts
  • Erling Braut Haaland is in such high demand that even referees are asking for his autograph.
  • The 20-year-old was asked by an official for his autograph following Dortmund's defeat to Manchester City.
  • The incident was caught on camera and heavily criticized.

Erling Braut Haaland is a man in high demand - and not just with Europe's elite soccer clubs.

After Borussia Dortmund's 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal tie on Tuesday, Haaland was hunted down by an assistant referee who was desperate for his autograph.

Romanian linesman Octavian Sovre approached the Dortmund superstar in the tunnel following the match, asking for his signature as other players walked on by.
Advertisement
Haaland duly obliged, signing the assistant referee's yellow card. The incident was caught on camera by BT Sport.

Sovre's actions were heavily criticized by BT Sport pundits Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott, especially given the officials had made a number of contentious calls during the match.

Dortmund's Jude Bellingham wrongly had his first half equalizer ruled out for a foul on Manchester City keeper Ederson, while the German club also had a penalty wrongly awarded against them, which was overturned after a VAR review.
Advertisement

"They had a difficult first-half and they got a lot of things wrong," said Hargreaves. "You can be a fan, but you can't do that in front of the other players, it just doesn't look right."

Lescott added: "There's never a right time for that, it just doesn't bode well for the officials. It's a childish thing to see."Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was not concerned by the incident, however.
Advertisement

"They told me, I didn't see it, maybe he's a fan," he told reporters after the match. "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."

Haaland, 20, is the world's most sought after striker.
Advertisement

The Norway international burst onto the scene with RB Salzburg last season, scoring 28 goals, including eight in the Champions League, before the turn of the year.

He then moved to Dortmund in January 2020, where he has since scored 49 times in 49 games.

Last week, Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, as well as his father, Alf Inge, met with the presidents of both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid about a potential summer transfer. He is also wanted by Manchester United, whose manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fellow Norwegian, and has been linked with Guardiola's City, and Chelsea.
Advertisement
{{}}