Are Haaland and Mbappe better than Messi and Ronaldo?

Are Haaland and Mbappe better than Messi and Ronaldo?

Erling Braut Haaland and Kylian Mbappe have outshone Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League this week-did they change the guard?

The 33-year-old Barcelona captain Messi, Juventus’s former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo are 36 years old. They have dominated world football for more than a decade, but they have all participated in a team with poor results-the Champions League has a continuous record of goals decline.

The 22-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Barcelona on Tuesday after Messi led the hosts. Borussia Dortmund’s 20-year-old Harland scored twice in a 3-1 win over Seville on Wednesday-Ronaldo failed to score and Juventus lost to Porto 2-1.

"When I saw Mbappe scored a hat-trick, I got free motivation so thanks to him," said Haaland after his double in Spain.

Is this the new rivalry world football needs?

Ronaldo and Messi have won 11 of the past 12 Ballon´dor-the best player in the world. In some respects, Ronaldo is the highest-scoring player in football history, with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal totaling 763 goals. He is the highest-scoring player in the history of the Champions League (he has won five matches), is Real Madrid's record scorer, and has 7 goals fewer than men's international goals. Messi is the best scorer in La Liga history and Barcelona's record scorer. The Argentine has won 34 titles including the Super Cups.

 

Mbappe has been earmarked as the potential best player in the world for some time. PSG made him the second most expensive player ever, for £166m, after just 46 first-team appearances for Monaco.

At the age of 22 he is already PSG's third all-time top scorer with 111 (behind just Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic) and a World Cup winner with France.

But Haaland's emergence has come as more of a surprise. The 20-year-old was not really known outside his homeland of Norway until last season - when he started a sensational Champions League scoring run.

He has scored 18 goals in only 13 Champions League.com appearances for Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund. Nobody else has ever scored that amount in 20 games.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole said: "We didn't see these numbers even when Ronaldo and Messi were learning their trade. The frightening thing is these lads will improve."

It is the Champions League though where Haaland and Mbappe's form is most striking.

The two youngsters have scored 28 goals since the start of the 2019-20 Champions League. Ronaldo and Messi have 15 combined.

Mbappe (19 goals) and Haaland (18) are the top Champions League scorers before their 21st birthday, well ahead of third-placed Karim Benzema (12). Messi managed eight and Ronaldo had scored none at that age.