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AS the coach whose tactics revolutionized football, Pep Guardiola has little regard for convention.

So any notion that politics should be distinct from sports is alien to the Manchester City manager, who is incensed by the treatment of the Catalan independence movement. It’s why a yellow ribbon has been attached to Guardiola’s clothing on the touchline and in media appearances since the region’s thwarted attempt in October to split from Spain.

Guardiola is a Catalan sporting icon, a status achieved by transforming Barcelona’s soccer team into a revered, all-conquering trophy machine during a 2008-12 managerial reign that become synonymous with quick-passing tiki-taka tactics.

Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola wears a yellow ribbon on his jumper during the celebrations after his side won the English League Cup Final
Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola wears a yellow ribbon on his jumper during the celebrations after his side won the English League Cup FinalSource: AP
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Despite now living in England, trying to usurp Barcelona on the football stage, Guardiola’s affection for Catalonia still burns brightly. Especially, in his view, when Catalonia’s aspirations are being subjugated by the Spanish government.

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Manchester United worried about Erling Haaland transfer pursuit because of Jadon Sancho



Manchester United retain transfer interest in Borussia Dortmund pair Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho.

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Erling Haaland wage demands, transfer fee, rumours, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Mino Raiola, PSG, EPL 2021



There’s no doubt Erling Braut Haaland is one of the finest striking talents in the world. But the mega-auction for the young Norwegian has just hit ludicrous numbers, with reports he will demand world-record wages at his next club.

The 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund prodigy is being shopped around to the world’s top clubs, with Dortmund resigned to losing him after just one-and-a-half season.

Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United have all been named as interested bidders in the superstar’s transfer auction, as have the biggest clubs on the continent: Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

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But the price tag for his services is simply staggering: widely reported to be a transfer fee of £150 million ($A270m).

That would likely only leave the cashed-up trio of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Real Madrid in contention for his services.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola recently said of that reported transfer figure: “I don’t know what’s going to happen – but at these prices we’re not going to buy any striker.”

Then there’s his wages. The Sun reports Haaland – and controversial super-agent Mino Raiola – are seeking a record pay-packet of £600,000-a-week ($A1.08m). It would make him the highest-paid player in Premier League history, and rival the ridiculous salaries of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronald.

Messi is currently the world’s top earner on a recently-leaked contract worth £500,000-a-week AFTER tax ($A900k).

But the Daily Mirror claims the contract demands don’t stop there. Agent Mino Raiola – previously responsible for some of the biggest transfers in football history including Paul Pogba’s then-record move to Manchester United in 2016 – is seeking to smash more records.

Per the mirror, Raiola is seeking to cross the million-dollar mark – with a deal that would make him the first million-pound-per-week earner ($A1.8m-per-week).

That would include lucrative image rights as well as other commercial deals, on top of the sought-after £600,000-per-week basic wage ($A1.08m).

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The mind-blowing figures are despite many clubs suffering significant financial downturn due to COVID-19, with fans kept out of stadiums.

That has put a damper on recent transfer spending, but apparently isn’t enough to dissuade Raiola and Haaland from pursuing record contract terms.

The pair met with both Real Madrid and Barcelona during a tour to Spain during the international break last month.

But since then, Haaland has struggled to find the net – not scoring in six games for club and country, a run lasting 405 minutes.

Nevertheless, he has still bagged 34 goals in 33 games for Dortmund this campaign, plus six goals in eight internationals.

Add to his goalscoring record his immense physical capabilities – hitting 36.06km/h in a sprint in his last game, the fastest player in the Bundesliga this season – and it’s little wonder so many clubs are interested.

The starlet has the opportunity to further boost his credentials – and end his goal drought – when his Dortmund faces Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Thursday morning AEST.

If Haaland can overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, his sky-high valuation might prove more and more realistic.

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