Mbappe and Haaland maybe the newest rivalry in world football, but comparing them to Leo Messi and C. Ronaldo is folly.
Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe may have been the headlines last week, when Haaland scored a shining brace against Sevilla in a 3-2 win over Sevilla and Mbappe tore down the Camp Nou with a hat-trick against Barcelona. Such dominance over play had questioned many experts to believe them to be the new rivalry. But the two greatest players of all time are far from done yet, if we look at the top-scorers of their respective leagues. Messi is dominating La Liga with 18 goals, 2 more than his best friend Luis Suarez, and Ronaldo too is topping the Serie A charts with 18 goals.
Ronaldo on Monday hit a brace against Crotone, surpassing Romelu Lukaku to claim the top-goalscorer position in Serie A. Similarly, Leo Messi thrashed Elche on Wednesday hitting a brace as well, surpassing Luis Suarez with 16 goals. Their combined age might be 69, but both of them boast simply spectacular stats since the start of the season.
If we take Messi’s vision, and his passing ability, none of the two youngsters have that. Neither do they have that level of passing ability. Nor do they have the sense of positioning that Ronaldo so clearly thrives in. Even when Messi and Ronaldo were 22, they were beasts. They would dismantle a whole defence with just a through-pass, or split the defence with just three wing dribbles. The technical ability, and spontaneity to juggle the ball onto the chest, and push it further down the line, to escape the defender, has been sheer brilliance from Leo Messi. Whereas, a 30-40 yard freekick from Ronaldo, would just spearhead through the defence and ram itself into the goal.
Even at the age of 33, Messi has more goals than Mbappe, and has the astonishing number of 29 assists.
But perhaps it is unjustified to compare to brilliant youngsters to two of the greatest players of the game ever. Rivalries will always be welcomed with open arms, healthy ones. But perhaps the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo should not be meddled with, perhaps it is one for the stars, one for the history books and one for the Gods. This rivalry is what makes them what they are today, and the world and we are extremely grateful and lucky to have lived in the same era that they are in.