Why Erling Haaland recreated infamous Paolo Di Canio push for goal celebration

    Erling Haaland scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season on Saturday as Manchester City came from behind to beat West Ham at the London Stadium.

    The Norwegian, seeking to break his own record for Premier League goals in a single season that he set at 36 in 2022/23, netted City’s late third to seal the 3-1 turnaround.

    But it was a bizarre celebration from Haaland, which saw him rope in teammate Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese jokingly pushed his striker, who went tumbling to the ground in a chain of events reminiscent of when Paolo Di Canio shoved referee Paul Alcock during a game in 1998.

    Di Canio was playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal at the time and had been shown a red card by the official, a decision he took exception to. Before leaving the pitch, the Italian forward pushed the referee to the ground.

    Paolo Di Canio shoved Paul Alcock after being sent off

    Paolo Di Canio shoved Paul Alcock after being sent off / Mark Thompson/GettyImages

    It has become one of the iconic moments in Premier League history, largely because of the way Alcock fell. But it landed Di Canio an 11-game ban and he never played for Sheffield Wednesday again, making his return to action in 1999 in the colours of West Ham instead.

    Di Canio, a cult legend among Hammers fans and neutrals alike, was a special guest at the London Stadium on Saturday and was introduced to the crowd on the pitch beforehand and was also seen engaging with Haaland too.

    Haaland is perhaps more in tune with vintage Premier League culture than most overseas signings who arrive in England. He was actually born in Leeds during his father’s own Premier League career and grew up keeping a very close eye on English clubs. Although the Di Canio incident took place before he was born, for most English football fans it was an unforgettable piece of history.


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