‘He’s been put through the wringer’ – Rio Ferdinand gives damning assessment of Josko Gvardiol after Erling Haaland masterclass amid Chelsea interest
Joško Gvardiol was ‘put through the wringer’ by Erling Haaland as the Manchester City star ran riot against RB Leipzig. Haaland scored five times as City eased to a record-equalling 7-0 win over the German side, progressing to the quarter- finals of the Champions League 8-1 on aggregate.
21-year-old Gvardiol is regarded as perhaps the best young defender in Europe following an impressive campaign with Croatia at the World Cup . The centre-half also turned in an excellent display in the first leg against City, scoring the late equaliser that kept his side in the tie until Tuesday night’s demolition job at the Eithad.
Chelsea failed with a bid said to be worth £77million for Gvardiol last year with the Blues among the sides jostling for his signature this summer. Real Madrid and Manchester City themselves also in the race to sign him. The defender was given a torrid evening up against Haaland, however, with the former Borussia Dortmund star scoring three before in the first-half, notching two more before Pep Guardiola replaced him on the hour mark.
Assessing Gvardiol’s performance at half-time, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand highlighted the job Haaland had done on him during a ‘nightmare’ first period. ‘We spoke about him, he is being courted by all the top clubs in the world,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.
‘He [Haaland] has put him through the wringer this half. He has been nervous, every duel they have had, he’s pretty much come out on top. Nightmare first-half.’
Leipzig defender, Benjamin Henrichs, who was penalised for handball leading to City’s opener, reflected on a ‘brutal’ evening for the Bundesliga side up against the Norwegian striker who how has a club record 39 goals for the season.
‘I have never before lost 7-0 in my career. It’s a brutal and bitter evening for us. Haaland is physically very strong. He has a lot to offer; it is very difficult to defend him.’
A masterclass in finishing from Haaland saw him become the youngest player to score 30 Champions League goals and a break a 94-year-old club record, surpassing Tommy Johnson for most goals scored by a City player in a single season.