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I’m best friends with Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard – Man City star is going to prank Arsenal rival at full-time

ERLING HAALAND is so close to Martin Odegaard he will prank him — win or lose — on Sunday.

That’s the view of Sander Berge, the other member of a trio of best pals.

Sander Berge, centre, has claimed Erling Haaland will prank Martin Odegaard

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Sander Berge, centre, has claimed Erling Haaland will prank Martin OdegaardCredit: Alamy
Haaland, Odegaard and Berge are all Norway team-mates

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Haaland, Odegaard and Berge are all Norway team-matesCredit: Rex

Manchester City’s Haaland and Arsenal skipper Odegaard face-off in the Premier League’s top-of-the-table blockbuster at the Etihad.

Calls and texts between the Norway trio are a constant, dating back to September 2019 when they first teamed up for their country against Malta.

And that bond is why Burnley midfielder Berge knows that, no matter who comes out on top in Sunday’s title clash at the Etihad between City and the Gunners, their friendship will stay as strong as it has been ever since.

Berge, 26, said: “Erling’s a funny guy, always with a smile on his face. And as I know, you never know with him.

“It’s fantastic that two of my closest mates are two of the absolute biggest players with two of the best teams in the world.

“There was a time after Erling had joined Manchester City and Martin was at Arsenal that the rest of us in the Norwegian dressing room wondered how it might go between them.

“At first it seemed a little bit strange because there they were, going up against each other, fighting up there for their club teams, and then they are together with the national team.

“You were like, ‘What’s going to happen here?’.

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“Now everybody is a little bit more adjusted to it with Erling scoring all these goals for City and Martin scoring his goals and being captain of Arsenal.

“Everybody’s more used to it now and it’s just fun watching them and being around them.”

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Haaland seemed like just another new kid on the block when Berge first saw his fellow Norwegian, when the striker made his senior international debut.

Two weeks later he discovered Haaland was a true trickster — and not only because, at the age of 19, he had just thrown his hat into the ring as a superstar in the making with a first Champions League hat-trick.

As Berge — then with Belgian side Genk — was drawn out for a post-match Uefa dope test following a 6-2 hammering by Haaland’s RB Salzburg, his team’s chief tormentor suddenly showed up.

On his face was a cheeky grin; in his hand was the match ball. Both laughed out loud and from that point on they were mates.

Berge, who left Belgium for Sheffield United before last summer’s £15million move to Turf Moor, recalls his time with Haaland and Odegaard fondly.

He added: “Martin I’ve known since I was 15 when we were in that age group national team. We’ve been close since then as we came through to play in the national team for many years now.

“Then Erling joined when he came through from Molde, then Salzburg, and we met in the national team two weeks before we were going to play each other in the Champions League.

“We clicked as mates right away and so after that game against Salzburg, I’m sitting in doping control, he had scored his hat-trick… and he brings the ball in to me!

“I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, here we go!’. We lose 6-2, he gets three and then he’s up to tricks.

“He felt like a younger brother when he joined the national team and then it’s like, ‘What is going on with this guy?’.

“It was hilarious and he’s never stopped.

“We live close by each other now and I go round to his house, he comes to mine, we meet up in the summer, we travel to the internationals together.

“We have a hobby about food and recovery, we enjoy each other’s company.

“We often have dinner when we meet. It’s usually all about fish and eating nice, healthy meals and always about the right nutrition — although sometimes even a Sunday roast. Being an athlete, the devil is in the detail and he’s all about that.

“I’m very tight with them. Erling I probably see once or twice a week. With Martin obviously down south I can’t do that.

“But I speak with him all the time.”

The three friends were all together again during the international break — with Haaland missing a penalty in Tuesday’s 1-1 friendly draw against Slovakia.

On Saturday, Berge faces Chelsea in the Clarets’ battle to beat the drop.

Come Sunday, the other two will be locking Viking horns.

Berge knows no quarter will be asked or given.

But he stressed: “They truly are really good friends, like we all are.

“When they play against each other, they just think it’s fun.

“Obviously, they want to go out and win for their teams but they have the biggest amount of respect for each other.

“They would never kick on each other if one loses — they are very respectful on a very mature level.

“The whole thing is just so cool and it’s great for me to be part of our friendship, to play alongside them — and to be watching them going hard for the title.”

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