If you've ever played the popular "Football Manager" game, you'll know how addictive it can be.
One of the most rewarding pursuits on FM is to find young "wonderkid" talents and nurture them until they become world-class stars.
How many Ballon d'Ors will Erling Haaland win in 10 years?— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 12, 2021
We've simulated that on Football Manager and the results are in. 🎮https://t.co/OJaq6Gz3AN
Erling Haaland falls squarely into this category, although some may argue that he's already surpassed his "wonderkid" tag and started to develop into one of the game's most clinical strikers. He's scored 35 goals in his first 34 Borussia Dortmund appearances, a tally that includes eight goals in six Champions League outings.
Football stats experts Squawka have booted up the latest edition of the Football Manager game and skipped ten years into the future to see how many times the current Norwegian wonderkid has won the most coveted individual prize in the sport.
In case you don't want to read the whole article, Haaland collects his first hypothetical Ballon d'Or in 2022, fending off Man United’s Martin Odegaard and Real Madrid’s Mo Salah to the honour. By 2030, Haaland's haul of Ballon d'Or titles has reached six and by then, he's already scored more than a century of goals for Norway but amazingly, he's never won the Champions League.
Only time will tell how far Haaland can go, but if this virtual simulation is anything to go by, it's right to the very top.
Back to reality, and Haaland's Dortmund side faces a tricky run of fixtures between now and March. They'll need their star striker to be firing on all cylinders if they want to go deep in the Champions League and resurrect their Bundesliga title push.