Reporter notebook: Erling Haaland off the mark as Man City grow global appeal

If we were in awe of Erling Haaland when we saw him up close for the first time in training, his first match appearance for Manchester City had us thunderstruck.

Having not featured against Club America in Houston, he tweeted straight after the final whistle to say we’d see him against Bayern.

He might be a man of relatively few words, but he clearly wanted to send a message of intent.

The historic game at Lambeau Field was delayed because of a large lightning storm, and when play got under way there was still the sound of thunder rumbling in the distance as if the gods were angry at those daring to play soccer on the hallowed NFL turf.

A theatre for the dramatic, it was the perfect backdrop for a man whose near-mythical reputation has us talking about him like he is a Norse God in the mould of Thor.

It took just 11 minutes and 45 seconds for the club’s most prestigious signing to announce himself as a City goal scorer, delighting the tens of thousands of the largely US-based City fans that had spent the hours before kick-off socialising around the stadium, and getting photos with the Premier League trophy across the road at the aptly-named Titletown.

Haaland scored just 11 minutes into his debut for Manchester City

Lightning almost struck twice when Bernardo Silva squared the ball for Haaland to smash home, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

We’re told Haaland is already popular in the dressing room, despite his arrival having undoubtedly taken the spotlight from some of his more established teammates.

An exciting bond seems to be developing with Jack Grealish, who has been one of the stand out performers on this tour.

Their on-field link-up looked extremely encouraging, with Grealish the man to tee up Haaland for the goal, and they appear to be building an excellent rapport off the pitch as well.

Man City vs Bayern green bay
City beat Bayern 1-0 in front of a packed house at Lambeau Field

We’ve seen plenty of friendly gestures and interactions between the pair, especially during the open training sessions we’ve been allowed to watch.

You get the sense Man City are finally beginning to crack the global marketplace that has previously been almost exclusively enjoyed by their more established top six rivals.

There were undoubtably more City shirts on display during this tour compared to their previous visit to the US before Covid.

City fans travelled from across the states to be here, including one of the biggest names in US sport.

There were noticably more Manchester City shirts in pre-season than in previous years
There were noticably more Manchester City shirts in pre-season than in previous years

Superstar quarterback of the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers counts himself among their number, and flew in especially for the game.

He watched from a suite but couldn’t resist coming down to the City locker room afterwards to spend time talking with Pep and the City players.

Endorsements in US sport don’t come much bigger than Green Bay’s main man.

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