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Guardiola’s Concerns Mount Over Haaland’s Fitness for Club World Cup



Pep Guardiola expressed uncertainty about Erling Haaland’s participation in the upcoming Club World Cup, revealing the striker’s potential absence from Manchester City’s clash against Crystal Palace this Saturday. Haaland, the team’s leading scorer with 19 goals this season, has been grappling with a foot injury, sidelining him from City’s recent matches against Luton and Red Star Belgrade. Currently receiving treatment in Marbella, Spain, Haaland returned to the City camp on Friday for assessment by the club’s medical staff, with Guardiola indicating a decision on his availability would follow.

The reigning European and English champions are slated to journey to Saudi Arabia post-Saturday’s fixture in their quest to secure the Club World Cup, aiming to build on their trophy-laden previous season.

Regarding Haaland’s situation, Guardiola stated on Friday, “He arrived today, and our doctors will evaluate him to gauge his condition. He underwent treatment during his absence. Hopefully, he’ll join us in Saudi and might be available for either the initial or subsequent games, or upon our return. I don’t anticipate his involvement against Palace, but surprises are always possible.”

Explaining Haaland’s injury as stress-related rather than a fracture, Guardiola highlighted the uncertainty surrounding recovery timelines, emphasizing a gradual approach dependent on the player’s pain-free status.

As for the impending Palace encounter, Guardiola acknowledged the challenge posed by Roy Hodgson’s defensively adept side, despite their recent winless streak in the Premier League. He praised their resilience in defense, particularly their prowess at set-pieces, anticipating a tough match.

Reflecting on Hodgson’s longevity in the sport at 76 years old, Guardiola jokingly dismissed the possibility of himself holding a similar senior position at that age. He commended Hodgson’s enduring passion and the quality of his team’s performance, citing their impressive display against Liverpool, albeit hindered by a red card during the game.

Guardiola concluded by expressing uncertainty about the outcome had Palace retained their full complement of players against Liverpool, acknowledging the unpredictability of football in such scenarios.

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