Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are among the best young players in the world, taking over the mantle from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the game.
Erling Haaland has acknowledged that despite the two new talents stepping into the footsteps of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he does not regard Kylian Mbappe as a rival.
Haaland, 23, and Mbappe, 24, are among the players on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, which excludes Ronaldo for the first time in 20 years. The 38-year-old is nearing the end of his career, playing for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, and players like Haaland and Mbappe have surpassed him as the world’s most fascinating players.
Messi, 36, is a few years younger than his long-term opponent but is also in his forties, playing for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer. Nonetheless, Messi is the overwhelming favorite to win the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time, having played a key role in Argentina’s World Cup victory in December.
In an interview with France Football, Haaland was asked if he thought he and Mbappe will become the next big rivalry in international football, replacing Messi and Ronaldo.
“That’s what everyone thinks, but you have to emphasize how insane Messi and Cristiano have been,” he responded. “You also have to keep in mind that they’re still doing it, even as they get older.” They’re still great players.
“But I never talk about pitting myself against other players; that’s not how I see things.” I only try to be better every day, to keep enjoying what I do and being the greatest version of myself.”
While Haaland may not win the Ballon d’Or in Paris on October 30, he has already received numerous personal awards for his outstanding 2022/23 season. Over the summer, Haaland was named PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.
Those awards came after he scored 52 goals in 53 games for City in all competitions, breaking the Premier League single-season scoring record with 36 in 35 games. These goals aided City’s unprecedented Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup triumphs.
In contrast, despite winning the Ligue 1 title, Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain fell short in the Champions League once again. That setback triggered a fundamental shift in PSG’s strategy, with Messi and Neymar being released and new manager Luis Enrique choosing a youth-focused approach.
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Regardless of the new strategy, Enrique’s success or failure in the role will be determined by his ability to bring home the elusive Champions League trophy that has eluded the club for so long. PSG was placed in Group F with Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, and Newcastle.
Mbappe could face Haaland later in the competition, since City is in Group G with RB Leipzig, Young Boys, and Red Star. On September 19, the Champions League kicks off.