Pep Guardiola has cast doubt on Erling Haaland’s availability for the Club World Cup, revealing that the striker is likely to miss Manchester City’s upcoming home fixture against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The prolific scorer, who has netted 19 goals this season, was absent from City’s recent victories over Luton and Red Star Belgrade due to a foot injury. Haaland has been undergoing treatment in Marbella, Spain, and returned to City on Friday. Guardiola stated that the club’s medical staff would assess Haaland before determining his fitness for the upcoming matches.
As the reigning European and English champions, Manchester City is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia following Saturday’s game in their pursuit of adding the Club World Cup to last season’s trophy haul. They are set to face a semi-final against either Mexico’s Leon or Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday, followed by a potential final or third-place play-off match three days later.
Guardiola commented on Haaland’s situation on Friday, saying, “Haaland arrived today (Friday), and the doctors will see him, and we will see how he feels. Hopefully, he can travel to Saudi, and we will see if he can play in the first game or the second game, or when we come back. I don’t think he will play (against Palace), but maybe he surprises me.”
Regarding Crystal Palace, Guardiola acknowledged the challenge they pose, stating, “How they defend is brilliant, and they don’t need much at set-pieces with (Joachim) Andersen and the other guys. I don’t remember easy games against Roy Hodgson teams.”
Despite Palace’s recent struggles in the Premier League, Guardiola emphasized the difficulty of facing Hodgson’s side. Reflecting on Hodgson’s longevity in the sport at 76, Guardiola humorously replied, “I don’t think so, but you never know. To have the fire and passion inside to still be there, and the team is really good.” He also praised Palace’s performance against Liverpool, noting the challenge of playing with 10 men after a red card.