For years, we’ve waited for the inevitable, yet depressing, drop off of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi– questioning just who could possibly take their place at the top. It almost seemed an impossible task to find two players ready to take the crown. Yet, up stepped Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
One is quick, skilful and clinical. The other is strong, powerful and ruthless. Both go head to head each season with the phrase ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ in mind. Remind you of anyone? For over a decade, Messi and Ronaldo sat on their thrones, crown placed atop their heads.
But this week signalled the changing of the guard. It signified a statement that both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are ready to become the heir to the throne and ruthlessly steal the crown before the current holders can even say their farewell.
Whilst Messi watched on in despair, Mbappe, his protege, netted a treble of goals. Whilst Ronaldo watched on as Porto dispatched of his Juventus side, Haaland ran the show in Seville.
It is time for a new rivalry to emerge between two generational talents in Haalan and Mbappe: The heirs to the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo footballing throne.
Mbappe and Haaland: The Heir to the Footballing Crown
Numbers Speak for Themselves
Not ones to do their talking off the pitch, Mbappe and Haaland let their stats and performances make the statements needed.
Mbappe, for example, has scored 154 goals before reaching the age of 23. To put that into context, before turning 23, Messi had 140, and Ronaldo had 102. To make that statistic even more damming, Mbappe still has until 23 December to add to that tally.
Moving onto the similarly impressive Erling Haaland, the Dortmund man has scored 18 goals in 13 Champions League appearances. In a struggling Dortmund side, the Norwegian has also been involved in 32 goals in 24 games this season. Now, looking at both players, to stamp home the message of the changing of the guard. Since the start of last season, Haaland and Mbappe have scored a combined total of 28 Champions League goals. Messi and Ronaldo have a combined total of 15.
Both Mbappe and Haaland hold the star power only Messi and Ronaldo could replicate at their young age. There is simply no other players capable of replacing two of the greatest of all time. The platform, alongside the spotlight, is there for them.
Now, they must shine and take the footballing crown- which they are rightfully next in line for.
Rivalry Has Already Begun
It is the mark of great players when they refuse to be outdone by another star. It is the mentality which carried both Messi and Ronaldo to the top for over a decade. Now, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are following suit.
Following a 3-2 victory over Sevilla, in which he netted a brace, Haaland stated: “I saw Mbappe yesterday, he scored some nice goals. So I got the pre-match boost from him. It was nice.”
From that statement alone, you can see the battle lines already beginning to be drawn; the task of outdoing each other, already a must. The only question that remains is who wins the Ballon D’or first? It is not a matter of if, that’s for sure, but more a case of when we’ll see the two battling for the coveted prize.
The reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is reaching its end. Meanwhile, the crowning ceremony of Mbappe and Haaland is only just beginning.
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