Best footballer in the world says it's 'embarrassing' but he relaxes by playing Minecraft

Erling Haaland points at his Premier League winner's medal.
(Image credit: Michael Regan via Getty)

Erling Haaland has this season gone from being a player of undoubted talent to the most lethal and consistent striker in the world. Haaland joined Manchester City last summer and, over a season that's seen them win the Premier League (which may yet get better, with the club in two cup finals), this babyfaced assassin has scored a remarkable 52 goals in all competitions. And when he's not bestriding the football world like a colossus, Haaland plays Minecraft.

Finding out what Haaland's favourite game was has been the focus of some fans ever since he mentioned it in a post-match interview. After breaking the Premier League record for most goals scored in a single season against West Ham United, Haaland was asked about the record and his mindset about such things.

"I don’t think of this," said Haaland. "I sleep tonight and then I think about three points against Leeds. I will go home now and play some videogames and then sleep." The interviewer asked Haaland what the game was and he demurred, saying it was "too embarrassing".

Part of the reason this so amuses fans is that Haaland, despite being one of the greatest footballers in the world, with all the rewards that brings, just doesn't appear to be a playboy in the slightest. If anything he sets an example of professionalism, focusing on ice baths and recovery after matches rather than heading out on the town with an armful of women. 

Speculation about Haaland's chosen videogame poison had it at everything from FIFA to World of Warcraft (which really would have been something). Now Haaland's answered the question, posting a picture of himself playing Minecraft to Instagram: And it's something of a humblebrag, too. Note that as this was an Instagram story it's now disappeared, though of course plenty of folk took screenshots.

Haaland's picture shows himself and some friends about to enter the End portal to fight the Ender Dragon, the game's final boss. Fair enough, but what was really impressive is his outfit: Haaland's character is wearing a full set of diamond armour, which takes a long time to get. All four are lined-up, and he's tagged the picture "#Squad".

Minecraft is such a known quantity now that it rarely makes the news, except when something bananas happens like military secrets being spilled on a Discord relating to the game. But it remains a huge touchstone for PC gaming, and one of the most popular routes into the hobby, and is zealously guarded from the intrusion of contemporary nonsense like NFTs. There are other ways to relax after belting in a few goals in the Premier League, but few are as wholesome as taking down the Ender Dragon with your buddies.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."