As two of the biggest names in the history of modern football with a combined total of 12 Ballons d’Or reach the inevitable end of their brilliant careers, a new era of talent is poised to take their position at the forefront of a global game. Messi, who possibly sealed the GOAT debate after winning the World Cup with Argentina, and Ronaldo, the Portuguese icon, have enthralled spectators with their extraordinary feats for over a decade.
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While there are many prominent young stars, Norwegian star Erling Haaland and French star Mbappe have distinguished themselves with their fantastic performance. So, is Haaland vs. Mbappe the next Messi vs. Ronaldo? Let’s find out.
What does the Man City Striker Think of His Rivalry with the PSG Star?
When asked if he may be part of football’s next great rivalry, Haaland told Viaplay that he is competing for the most prized collective and individual honours with the French international. The Manchester City striker claims that it is impossible to know precisely. He avoids comparing himself to others. He added that the nearly 15-year rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi has enabled both players to become a better version of themselves.
However, he is unconcerned about his battle with the French star.
A Comparison of 21 Year old Mbappe and Haaland with Messi and Ronaldo of the same age!
Haaland and Mbappe have been outstanding for their respective clubs during the 2022-23 season, with Haaland scoring 23 goals in 18 appearances for City and Mbappe netting 19 goals in 20 games for PSG.
To put things into perspective, let’s compare the two young talents to the legendary pair of Ronaldo and Messi at the age of 21.
The 21 years old Lionel Messi was a beast in playmaking. The former Barca star was more of a midfielder than a striker and a true ’10’. His ability to read the game and make changes made him so lethal in front of opponents.
- Assists: 46
- Goals: 92
- Appearances: 200
- Minutes per goal: 154
- Minutes per assist: 103
- Awards won: Five (La Liga x2, Spanish Super Cup, Champions League, FIFA Under-20 World Cup)
The Portuguese star had already made a reputation for himself with fame and striking ability. However, unlike the present CR7, who is a goalscoring beast, the 21 years old was more of an attacking midfielder than a pure striker.
- Goals: 62
- Assists: 44
- Appearances: 242
- Minutes per goal: 267
- Minutes per assist: 156
- Awards won: One (FA Cup)
What happens when you compare the above two legends with the current potential greats?
Haaland has emerged to be one of the biggest names among young footballers because of his pure striking abilities. Since his arrival at Man City, the squad has looked unstoppable, especially in front of the goal, due to Erling’s attacking abilities.
- Goals: 106
- Assists: 28
- Appearances: 148
- Minutes per goal: 99
- Minutes per assist: 78
- Awards won: Four (Austrian Cup, Austrian Bundesliga x2, German Cup)
If you compare his achievements, Mbappe is probably ahead of all the other mentioned names as the French star already won the World Cup four years ago at the age of 20.
His gameplay is technically more advanced, as he can play as a playmaker. His performance at the World Cup was a testament to what he is destined to achieve in the future.
- Goals: 118
- Assists: 26
- Appearances: 199
- Minutes per goal: 118
- Minutes per assist: 97
- Trophies won: Eight (World Cup, Coupe de France, French League Cup, Ligue 1 x3, Under-19 European Championship, Trophee des Champions)
Mbappe took home the Golden Boot award at the 2022 World Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Argentina in the final. He is already back with PSG as the top European clubs, including Premier League champions and Haaland’s Man City club, prepare for a revival of domestic action.
While it’s too soon to put Haaland and Mbappe on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo, it is undeniable that they have the potential to replace the legendary rivalry of the 12 Ballon D’or Duo.
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