6 best football debuts – from Erling Haaland’s hat-trick to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s screamer

Gareth Southgate could make his three-man debut in both England friendlies at Wembley Stadium this weekend.

The Three Lions take on Switzerland on Saturday before hosting Ivory Coast on Tuesday as they begin their preparations for the World Cup in Qatar at the end of this year. Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell and Kyle Walker-Peters are the only three unselected players in the squad and could make their international debuts in either match.

They hope to build on these six great footballing debuts if they get the chance to make their first appearances for their country.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick on his Borussia Dortmund debut

Borussia Dortmund beat several other European giants to sign Erling Haaland in January 2020 as he completed his move from Red Bull Salzburg.

After scoring 28 goals in 22 appearances already in 2019/20 for the Austrian champions, the Norwegian striker wasted no time in continuing his form on his Dortmund debut.

Introduced in the 56th minute and with Dortmund trailing 3-1, Haaland opened his account after just three minutes as he headed home.

Two more goals followed soon after as the predatory striker netted his hat trick in just 23 minutes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a long-range volley off the bench in 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Los Angeles Galaxy to much fanfare in 2018 as the Swedish veteran moved to Major League Soccer from Manchester United.

He then made his debut against local rivals LAFC and was replaced by his new side trailing 3-1.

After being involved in setting up a goal just two minutes after coming on, Ibrahimovic then took center stage, hitting home a volley just below the center circle to bring his side back to the level.

Ibrahimovic then made a perfect debut as he headed for the winning goal in stoppage time to cap off a fine comeback.

Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero scored twice and created another against Swansea City

By the end of Sergio Aguero’s first season at Manchester City, he had already written his name into club folklore with his league title-winning goal. However, City fans had already seen what to expect as Aguero shone in his first appearance for the club on the opening weekend of the season.

Aguero came off the bench against Swansea City just before the hour mark with City leading 1-0 and the Argentina striker quickly doubled their lead with a return to the post.

Moments later it was 3-0 as Aguero’s drive helped set up David Silva, before the debutant grabbed a fine second goal from long range in the final minute.

wayne rooney

wayne rooney
Wayne Rooney beat Fenerbahce three times on his Manchester United debut

Manchester United couldn’t have hoped for better starts after signing the £33m signing of Wayne Rooney from Everton in 2004.

The teenage striker made his debut for the Red Devils against Fenerbahce in the Champions League almost a month after signing for his new club.

Rooney stole the show at Old Trafford with a fine hat-trick, which he completed with a sublime free-kick shortly after half-time.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane saved France’s draw against the Czech Republic

World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane earned a total of 108 caps for France during his trophy-laden career, earning the first of those against the Czech Republic in 1994.

France conceded two early goals at half-time to lead 2-0 as Zidane came on for Corentin Martins in the 63rd minute.

It didn’t take long for Zidane to establish himself in the national team, as he scored twice in two minutes during the final stages to salvage a 2-2 draw.

He produced a fine display in midfield before firing home his first from nearly 30 yards, to cap off his night with a header three minutes from time.

Federico Macheda

Federico Macheda
Federico Macheda earned stoppage time on his Manchester United debut

Even some Manchester United fans may not have known who Federico Macheda was when he was substituted on his debut against Aston Villa in April 2009.

United were held by Villa in a crucial game as the Red Devils chased a third straight league title, with the introduction of Macheda adding to their attacking threat.

The Italian teenager, however, had to wait until the fourth minute of injury time to make his mark, collecting the ball with his back to goal before turning and bending the ball into the far corner.

Macheda scored again a week later against Sunderland and United beat Liverpool for the Premier League title.

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