World football is experiencing a new youth duel at the top. Those born in the 90s experienced the battle between the galaxy of their childhood idols such as Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry, Totti, Gerrard, Lampard, Raúl and company and saw how it was ‘replaced’ by the ‘Big Bang’, a great shock that creates a new system, which Messi and Cristiano had and still have. Now, they prepare to suffer what they have already done to their idols. Mbappé and Haaland, who grew up under the influence of the Portuguese and the Argentine, are preparing the assassination of the old kings and have already started their fight for the throne.
Kylian: one step ahead
The one who staged it abruptly was Kylian Mbappé this Tuesday at the Camp Nou. The Frenchman went ‘alone’ (Neymar was injured) to a big and ‘cursed’ stage for PSG. Facing Messi and leaving Piqué behind in a picture on the way to being iconic to remember the game, the Bondy striker turned the history of the Parisian team upside down in Barcelona. Dthe 6-1 to lose a tie they had won, to go ahead at Barcelona’s home by 1-4 leading the game.
Since Fabio Coentrao came out of the green to give Mbappé Lottin his first minutes as a professional at Monaco, the French striker has grown at an exponential rate, being only 22 years old the star of a European giant and of an entire French team with which he is already world champion.
Despite his young age, Mbappé has been the protagonist in all the titles he owns and the collection of great European nights increases with the passing of seasons like this one in Barcelona, without a doubt the best to date, or that of Old Trafford (he scored the goal that could kill United, which ended up coming back in Paris) with PSG and con which was presented to Europe at the Stade Louis II with Monaco eliminating the almighty Manchester City. With the selection, his round of 16 against Argentina (again suffered by Leo) with two goals and an assist to win 4-3 ended up astonishing the world.
Kylian touched the Golden Boot and the podium of the Ballon d’Or seems a matter of time. With a contract until 2022, his future is unknown. Madrid have loved him for years, having him at the time although letting him escape in favor of PSG. Make the club in your city completely great or succeed in the white giant? It is the question that Kylian must solve. Its price, according to Le Parisien, will be over 200 million euros and Real Madrid is preparing to have the next star hired after Cristiano to fight or join Haaland.
Haaland is missing titles, for now
Erling Braut Haaland is two years younger than Kylian Mbappé and still lacks some great nights and titles to match the FrenchBut when it comes to expectations and immediate performance, the balance is more even than you might think.
At 1.94 meters tall and with a rare but effective stride for speed, Erling Haaland is not the classic ‘gunner’. Because shooting is his thing, but with an astonishing precision. Erling has more to do with ‘snipers’. Not so much in the distance as in the effectiveness that he demonstrated this Wednesday in Seville. With 25 goals in 24 games, few players in Europe can boast of exceeding the goal-per-game average to which Messi and Cristiano were subscribed for so long.
Haaland burst the radar with his nine goals against Honduras in the 2019 U-20 World Cup. What seemed like an isolated event in youth football has become, saving the distance, a trend in professional football. The Norwegian lives by and for the goal and has the gift of the predator, discovered at RB Salzburg and tuned in Dortmund. Last season, straddling Salzburg and the Rühr basin, he signed his first season of more than 40 goals (he scored 44) and interest in him soared.
United, through his former coach Solskjaer (they agreed in the Molde), tried to convince him and is the great rival of Real Madrid in this contract in which there are more candidates. In 2022, it will go on the market due to the agreement reached between Raiola, its agent, and the club, but this summer Dortmund could enter the game under pressure due to the need for more income. The new successor will soon seek a greater destiny behind the yellow springboard. It may be with Kylian or against him.
A controversial first encounter
Fate is capricious and more, when it is twinned with football. Haaland and Mbappé have already met in a first battle for two races that already aim to live the sentence of being compared. The Norwegian, recently signed by Dortmund, crossed in the last 16 of the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain of the forward Bondy. Both played their role in the tie in and out of the green, as the Norwegian grew up and opened a dialectical war with Paris Saint-Germain, not short of roosters willing to answer.
Haaland shone in the first leg with an anthological double that put Dortmund ahead to travel to Paris, as well as meditating on both goals, a trademark celebration that Parisians did not like. But Kylian, in the end, had more impact. The Frenchman assisted Neymar to make it 2-1, which would give reason for hope in the French capital. In a Parc des Princes empty due to the pandemic, Haaland and his Dortmund fell to PSG where Neymar was the leader in a comeback that culminated in Bernat’s goal. Mbappé, touched, left after game time. When I finish, Mbappé and his teammates took their own revenge meditating on the lawn of the Parisian capital. Thinking of how they had defeated the yellow giant that Bondy’s is destined to cross paths with.
More precocious than Leo and Cristiano
Leo Messi grew up under the tutelage of Ronaldinho hatching in the decline of Rijkaard’s Barcelona (that 3-3 in El Clásico was his confirmation) while Cristiano was Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘child’ at United, where he simmered until he won the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or. His irruption was brutal but, at the data level, Mbappé and Haaland have come to add more in less time but also in less demanding environments and leagues than a whole Barcelona or Manchester United.
The trajectory in terms of ages is relatively similar. Messi won the 2006 Champions League, although with a role far from the main thing that he is now, Cristiano played the final of the 2004 Eurocup with less than 20 years and won in Europe at 23. The similarity there with Kylian is evident, although he hunted the World Cup award that slipped both of them at the moment.
Regarding goals, Mbappé is already among the top historical scorers of PSG and Haaland climbs the ladder in the Champions League classification, surpassing myths like Ronaldo Nazario in a few editions. Thus, Kylian and Erling have run more to overcome the barrier of 30 goals per campaign than the previous ‘kings’.
Cristiano did it in his sixth season as a professional (23 years old), Messi in his fifth (22 years) while Mbappé achieved it in his fourth with just 20 years and also, he kept it this past season (30 goals and 19 assists). ANDThis one, with 21 points, is on the way to repeating. Haaland was the most precocious of all, scoring 44 goals in 40 games at just 18 years of age. The throne has successors.