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Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe: Stats, goals & who has been better at World Cup 2022?

13:30 GMT+4 18/12/2022
Lionel Messi Argentina Kylian Mbappe France World Cup 2022
Who has had a better tournament in Qatar - Messi or Mbappe? GOAL takes a look at the stats ahead of the final

Lionel Messi goes head to head with Kylian Mbappe in the World Cup final on Sunday, as Argentina and France square off for the biggest prize in football.

The Paris Saint-Germain duo have been key players for their national teams and their goals have been crucial in helping them reach the final. However, how do they measure up against each other so far? How does a young upstart who has already won a World Cup compare to a seven-time Ballon d'Or-clinching veteran?

GOAL takes a look at the statistical performances of Messi and Mbappe at Qatar 2022.

Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe - World Cup 2022 goals

PlayerGamesGoalsxG
Lionel Messi654.75
Kylian Mbappe653.46

In terms of goals scored, Messi and Mbappe have netted five each in six appearances at the 2022 World Cup. They are neck and neck in the race for the tournament Golden Boot.

Messi has played more minutes, with Argentina going into extra time and penalties in the quarter-final against the Netherlands, so his minutes-per-goal ratio is slightly higher than Mbappe's, but so is his xG (4.75 to 3.46).

Of Messi's five goals at the tournament, three were from the penalty spot. Mbappe's goals, by contrast, have all come from open play.

Mbappe scored three in the group stage (one against Australia, two against Denmark), before netting two more in the last-16 win over Poland.

However, the PSG striker failed to find the back of the net in the quarter-final against England or in the semi-final against Morocco, cutting a frustrated figure in both games as a result.

Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe - World Cup 2022 assists

PlayerGamesAssistsxA
Lionel Messi631.63
Kylian Mbappe621.23

Messi has supplied more assists than Mbappe at the World Cup, setting up three goals for Argentina in games against Mexico, Netherlands and Croatia.

His incredible solo run in the lead up to Argentina's third goal against Croatia in the semi-final, in which he tormented Josko Gvardiol, elicited high praise from punters and pundits alike.

Mbappe, meanwhile, has laid on two goals at the tournament, setting Olivier Giroud up against Australia and then again against Poland.

It should be noted, however, that Messi is not only Argentina's main playmaker, he also takes set-pieces, which gives him a small advantage over Mbappe in this regard.

Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe - who has been better?

StatLionel MessiKylian Mbappe
Games played66
Minutes played570477
Goals55
xG4.753.76
Assists32
Shots2725
Shots on target1411
Chances created1811
Dribbles completed1521
Successful passes (final 3rd)12183

At a glance, the stats would suggest that Messi has had a better World Cup than Mbappe, if only marginally.

While the pair have scored the same number of goals at the tournament, Messi boasts more assists, has had more shots, a higher xG, he has created more chances and has more successful passes into the opposition half.

It is also notable that Mbappe has only scored once in the knockout stage, failing to find the net in the quarter-final or semi-final, while Messi has scored in the last 16, quarter-final and semi-final, demonstrating the leadership that is expected of him as national team captain.

That said, Mbappe has looked incredibly dangerous for France in the knockout stage, despite not scoring as much as he would have liked. Indeed, his dribbling stats at the tournament are frightening and it's been clear that not even the best defenders in the world are completely comfortable against him.

Of course, the stats will be irrelevant when the stars collide on Sunday and, ultimately, whoever gets their hands on the trophy will be able to definitively say they had the better tournament.