Tuesday night’s Champions League action represented a changing of the guard in European football. Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe upstaged Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi respectively.
Given the ages of Messi and Ronaldo, it won’t be long before the young stars replace them as the dominant goalscorers of the age.
The world has known about Kylian Mbappe for a long time. The 22-year-old 2018 World Cup champion is like a supercharged Thierry Henry.
He scored a symbolic hat-trick at Camp Nou as his PSG team defeated Messi’s ailing Barcelona 4 -1.
Erling Haaland has been in the football consciousness since his move to Borussia Dortmund last season. He is, to put it mildly, a terrifying animal.
He has a skill and finishing ability that defies his incredible size and power. Haaland had two goals and one assist as Dortmund beat Sevilla 3 -2 on Tuesday.
Erling Haaland now has 18 goals in 18 Champions League games. It’s the fastest any player has scored that many goals in the competition.
On the same night, Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus slumped to a 2 – 1 defeat to F.C Porto.
This is not to say that Messi and Ronaldo are done for. Ronaldo continues to defy his critics and barring an injury, will probably keep scoring goals for years.
Messi, depending on where he ends up next season, probably has another two years of illuminating performances.
Mbappe and Haaland are undoubtedly the future, though. In many ways the comparison between them is more interesting than the Messi Vs Ronaldo debate.
Messi and Ronaldo are predominantly two goal scoring wingers, although Ronaldo has remodeled himself as a striker.
Haaland and Mbappe are more different. Mbappe is a finesse player, while Haaland’s play has a brutality and speed to it. Assuming they both move to a super power team, their exploits will fill the gap left by two of the greatest to ever play the game.