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What is the Erling Haaland celebration? Meaning behind Borussia Dortmund star’s goal salute

15:00 BST 21/05/2020
Erling Haaland celebration Borussia Dortmund
Goal brings you everything you need to know about the Norwegian striker's famous pose and what it means

When you are a striker who scores lots of goals in football, you tend to find yourself celebrating a good amount of the time.

In years gone by, society was perhaps somewhat less expressive - or, at least less tolerant of explicit displays of elation - and footballers might simply have punched the air or hugged their team-mates.

Nowadays though, most players have their own unique celebrations - think Paul Pogba's dab, Antoine Griezmann's dance or Raul Jimenez's mask. 

Erling Haaland is one of football's rising stars and he also has some particular ways of celebrating. So what exactly are they and what do they mean?

What is the Erling Haaland celebration?

Haaland's famous goal celebration sees him sit on the pitch, cross his legs, touch his thumbs to his fingers and close his eyes, as if in meditation or in a yoga pose.

While he does not celebrate every goal in this fashion, the performative nature of this particular celebration has resulted in it becoming synonymous with the Norwegian.

Indeed, Haaland has performed the celebration at both Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, meaning it is something that is now very much a part of his image.

So, just as Cristiano Ronaldo has his iconic "Siii!" celebration, Haaland - a pretender to the Portugal star's throne - has already come up with a brand-boosting method of marking goals.

In early 2020, Paris Saint-Germain players, led by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, mockingly performed Haaland's famous celebration en masse following their Champions League last-16 victory over Dortmund.

The decision of the PSG stars to celebrate their victory in such a fashion was prompted by a picture which did the rounds on social media, which showed Haaland with the words, "Paris, my city, not yours".

It is unclear whether the post was genuine or not, but it was still enough to provoke Neymar et al, who relished rubbing the young striker's nose in defeat.

After leading the derisive retort on the pitch at Parc des Princes, the Brazil forward also posted a message on his Instagram page, haughtily declaring, "Paris, our city, not yours".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

P🗼R I S our city, not yours 👌🏽

A post shared by ene10ta Érre 🇧🇷 👻 neymarjr (@neymarjr) on Mar 11, 2020 at 4:48pm PDT

The mockery was not viewed particularly kindly outside of Paris though. Former England striker Gary Lineker said it showed "a lack of class", a position which resonated with many fans and figures within the game.

Nevertheless, PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe defended the move, arguing that Dortmund had shown "a lack of humility" after winning the first leg of the tie.

"After their victory at home they put out a lot of tweets, a lot of Instagrams, a lot of words, a lot of this and that," an indignant Kimpembe told RMC Sport .

He added: "It allowed us to have this little rage in a corner of our heads and we took advantage of that."

Either way, the fact that PSG's stars, most of which are senior to Haaland, saw fit to use that particular celebration shows how widely known it had become in such a short space of time.

What is the meaning of Erling Haaland's celebration?

Erling Haaland's celebration is a reproduction of a famous Zen pose which is commonly used in various meditative practices, including yoga.

It is known as the Lotus pose or  Sukhasana in yoga and is supposed to help an individual find their Zen.

When asked by Esporte Interativo what the pose meant in the context of football, Haaland explained: “I really enjoy meditation. It makes feel calm and gives me tranquillity. This is why I sometimes celebrate like that when I score."

Haaland is not the only footballer to incorporate yoga poses into his catalogue of goal celebrations. Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah occasionally performs a celebration based on 'the tree' position in yoga.

What is Erling Haaland's social distancing celebration?

When the 2019-20 Bundesliga season resumed in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, Haaland celebrated a goal for Dortmund with a nod to social distancing.

The Norwegian opened the scoring in the  Revierderby win over Schalke in May, sending his side on their way to a 4-0 victory, and his celebration was notable because the team remained apart for it.

It made for an unusual scene as the Dortmund players spaced themselves roughly two metres apart and celebrated the goal with a sedate dance in an empty Signal-Iduna Park.

"You have to find a way to make the most of the situation and have fun," Haaland's team-mate Julian Brandt said of the celebration after the game.