- Argentine & Portuguese stars have dominated
- Baton ready to be passed on
- Norwegian & French forwards ready to shine
WHAT HAPPENED? As two iconic performers with 12 Ballons d’Or between them begin to edge towards the end of their illustrious playing careers, a new generation of talent is ready to take their place at the top of a global game. Messi – who is now a World Cup winner with Argentina – and Portuguese icon Ronaldo have captivated audiences with their remarkable exploits, but current Manchester City striker Haaland sees no reason why he should be dragged into a similar sporting feud with Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe.
WHAT THEY SAID: Haaland has told Viaplay when quizzed on whether he could form part of football’s next great rivalry, as he battles a France international for the most prestigious of collective and individual honours: "It's impossible to say. I don't like to compare myself with others. I think you need to be your own player when it comes to that so I don't like to compare or anything with that. I think the media has been doing that with Ronaldo and Messi for the last 10 years and I think they've been pushing each other as well. I think it's been a positive thing. Barcelona and Madrid against each other. It's been the perfect rivalry. But I don't think about this, honestly."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Haaland and Mbappe have been starring for their respective clubs in the 2022-23 campaign, with the former netting 23 goals through 18 appearances for City while the latter has 19 in 20 games for PSG.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT? Mbappe claimed Golden Boot honours at the 2022 World Cup, with his efforts there including a hat-trick in a final showdown with Argentina, and he is already back in training at PSG as leading clubs across Europe – including Premier League champions City – ready themselves for a return to domestic competition.