Behind Erling Haaland’s peaceful life in Norway: He cuts an easy figure in his £2.6 million flat

And there he is, strolling onto the balcony of his new £2.6million apartment on a leafy and deserted backstreet in Oslo’s most affluent district, just me and Erling Haaland.

But first things first. There is no trace of the Manchester City star as you walk around this alluring city, where Nordic cool shines brighter than the scorching sun, a tapestry of chic architecture, quirky drinking dens, and young, radiant faces.

There will be no billboards. There are no murals. There are no neon signs illuminating Karl Johans street, which is lined with designer stores. Even the Nike store’s window displays only female footballers.

There are few images of Erling Haaland around town, but residents are beginning to accept his meteoric rise.

The striker is starting to consider relocating to Oslo, where he recently purchased a £2.6 million apartment.

The Norwegian’s new apartment complex, connected to the Sommerro Hotel, features a roof-top bar with views of the Oslo skyline.

The Manchester City forward has returned to Oslo ahead of Norway’s match against Scotland on Saturday.

‘We are not used to having a superstar,’ says Mats Arntzen of the newspaper VG. The large posters, on the other hand, are not part of our culture. We believe in socialism. When we suddenly get this star, it’s a bit of a shock.

‘It’s called The Law of Jante, and it’s a Norwegian custom that says you shouldn’t think you’re better than everyone else. This happened to John Arne Riise, who had a girl on each arm and flashy cars, and his character was not Norwegian.

‘You could say the same thing about Haaland. Some criticize him for political reasons, his relationship with City’s UAE owners and sportswashing, environmental concerns about his private jet, and some sponsorship deals.

‘However, thanks to social media and the way things work in other countries, it is now easier to be him than it was 20 years ago.

‘People here are also pretty relaxed, if a little shy. After training, maybe ten kids in shirts wait for him outside the stadium; he’s not Justin Bieber or The Beatles. It would be more extreme elsewhere.’

Undaunted by the lack of mania that would have made for easy copy, I set out in search of the addresses where Haaland stories could be found.

First, there’s the modest £180-a-night team hotel in Storo, a northern suburb five minutes’ drive from the Ullevaal Stadion, where Norway takes on Scotland in a Euro 2024 qualifier tonight.

The lobby’s sedative music and complimentary coffee and water bear little resemblance to the Ibiza nightclub Pacha, where Haaland and Jack Grealish celebrated City’s Treble last weekend.My presence is the only source of concern.

‘Who are you looking for,’ a hotel security guard inquires. Truthfully? Haaland. ‘The coffee maker,’ I say.

Despite becoming a household name throughout Europe, locals are unaccustomed to their celebrity.

The Norwegian team is staying in a modest hotel just five minutes away from the Ullevaal Stadion.

Away from the paparazzi, Haaaland partied with Martin Odegaard at Michaels nightclub after Norway defeated Armenia 9-0 last year.

Michaels’ interior design features a dark and discreet theme for residents to relax in.

Geir Ellefsen, the former cop and national team security chief who knows Haaland better than most defenders, appears at this point. He is the protagonist of a noir Nordic crime drama, dressed in a black suit, shirt, and shades, with a cigarette in his mouth.

One publication says of Haaland and Ellefsen’s relationship, “He is literally looked after like a jewel.” Ellefsen accompanied Haaland after training on Wednesday to purchase a new iPhone without offering color advice.

The older man stalks the street outside the hotel, where a group of boys kick a ball and wait for Haaland. Ellefsen’s alertness indicates that the striker is nearby.

Minutes later, the team bus returns from training, and Haaland, Ellefsen for a shadow, shoots from it and into the hotel’s side entrance, his face hidden by white slippers. Those were his dancing shoes a few days ago.

I ask Stale Solbakken, Norway’s CEO, if Haaland’s partying has been a source of concern.

’No! ‘I thought it was a good idea,’ he says. ‘You can’t postpone such a celebration. He didn’t appear to have gone the Grealish route when he arrived! So, if Grealish can train for England, he should be able to train for us!’

Next to the hotel is an Odeon cinema showing Spider-Man (I wonder if Superman saw it?) and a Johnny Rockets burger joint. The Blue Moon burger seems appropriate.

Sabrina, a waitress, claims that stars like Haaland come in for juice but that they have yet to tempt them with a milkshake. ‘There’s too much sugar!’ She also tells a charming story about waiting at the hotel reception and being suddenly intimidated by security personnel flanking her. When she turned around, Haaland was the next person in line.

Ellefsen emerges from the hotel as we speak. Haaland has arrived safely at the sixth-floor games room, where he rules the table tennis table. Is the ex-cop taking a cigarette break or, more importantly, keeping an eye on me? In any case, it’s time to go.

The fashionable Sommerro Hotel shields Haaland’s quiet complex, away from the bustling Solli plass

In his first season at Manchester City, the 22-year-old scored 52 goals, assisting the club to a famous treble.

Following last year’s 9-0 victory over Armenia, Haaland partied with team-mates such as Martin Odegaard and glamorous influencer Linni Meister at Michaels in the wealthy borough of Frogner.

‘The Place,’ a sign above the door declares. It’s like entering Instagram, where beautiful people flock to be seen, and Oslo is full of them. This would be appreciated by Jack and the boys.

The basement nightclub has a jungle theme, but according to the staff, Haaland and company are safe. No paparazzi are swinging from the trees, and there is no intrusion.

That is, in fact, true of Norwegian society. ‘If we write about his hair, girlfriend, and flying in a private jet, it can become too much,’ says journalist Arntzen. Of course, there is a lot of interest, but we have to tread carefully.’

Saturday’s game is a 28,000-person sellout, and Haaland is only playing here for the second time in 15 months.

‘They played Cyprus in front of 5,000 people five years ago,’ says Arntzen. ‘What occurred? Haaland occurred.

Everyone is on their feet when he starts running and catches the ball. We haven’t participated in a tournament since 2000. Now he gives us the confidence that we can beat anyone.’

It is thus a reverent worship, reserved only for sporting settings. It’s no surprise that Haaland, who grew up 300 miles away in Bryne, bought his first Oslo home, that pricey eighth-floor apartment, last month.

The Scotland game will be a 28,000-person sell-out, a significant increase over the crowds drawn five years ago.

It will be Haaaland’s first Ullevaal appearance in 15 months.

Norway hasn’t competed in a major tournament since 2000, but with the talent they now have available, optimism is growing.

I arrive on the bustling Solli plass at the fashionable red-brick Sommerro Hotel, which is both shielding and connected to the 22-year-old’s complex. There is commotion at the development’s entrance, and a swanky people-carrier appears. Haaland? Busta Rhymes, an American rapper, is carrying a steel record case.

That was insane. But we’re not done with bonkers yet. A concierge informs me that there is a passageway between the buildings that leads to a courtyard. It’s not closed to the public, so I wander through to get a sense of Haaland’s new home. There is the cheerful sound of a gathering beyond this secluded plot and on the lawn of a nearby residence – laughter, clinking glasses, house music.

I’m intrigued, as is an athletic figure on a balcony above me. This seems like his kind of party. And there he is, Erling Haaland, decked out in full Norway training gear, gazing out into a city where he is clearly beginning to feel at ease. Perhaps it’s because the big posters aren’t for him.

A British journalist’s inquisitive gaze would also be unwelcome. With that, I follow local custom and make a quiet exit. In any case, there is a party to look into. Only this time, Haaland is absent. And what if he did? They’d leave him alone to enjoy a peaceful night. Perhaps this isn’t the place for his pal Jack after all.

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