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'It's the start for him' - PSG superstar Mbappe plays down comparisons with Dortmund's Haaland

9:55 AM EDT 6/2/21
Kylian Mbappe Erling Haaland
The Frenchman says he is happy to see the BVB striker doing well, but also points out that he is only two years into his career at an elite level

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe has played down comparisons with Erling Haaland, insisting the football world is still "getting to know" the Borussia Dortmund striker.

Mbappe has solidified his reputation as arguably the best young player of his generation since joining PSG from Monaco in 2017, taking his overall tally of career goals to 231 while also becoming a World Cup winner at international level with France.

The 22-year-old is being touted as the favourite to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or after another stellar year at Parc des Princes, but Haaland has emerged as a possible contender too, having burst onto European football's biggest stage at BVB over the past one-and-a-half seasons.

What's been said?

It has been suggested that Mbappe and Haaland will step up to replace Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo at the very top of the game when the duo finally retires, but the Frenchman is distancing himself from a potential rivalry.

When asked if he compares himself to the Norwegian frontman, Mbappe told GQ Magazine: "It’s his second year, we’re getting to know him. It’s the start for him.

"I'm happy for him, for what he’s doing.”

However, the France international went on to admit that he does measure his own abilities up against the best players in the game, which he believes is a healthy way to improve.

“You do always compare yourself with the best in your sport, just as the baker compares himself with the best bakers around him," he said. "Who makes the best croissant, the best pain au chocolate?

"I watch matches of other great players to see what they’re doing. 'I know how to do this, but can the other guy do it too?’ I think other players watch me, too.

"I think that pushes players to raise their game, just as Messi was good for Ronaldo and Ronaldo was good for Messi.”

Mbappe & Haaland compared

Mbappe became a Ligue 1 winner in his first full season at Monaco, and left the club with 27 goals to his name from 60 appearances.

PSG invested €150 million (£129m/$183m) in his talents, which he has undoubtedly repaid over the past four seasons, finding the net 132 times in 171 games while also laying on 60 assists.

Mbappe has picked up 10 trophies at Parc des Princes already, including three more Ligue 1 titles, and has also appeared in a Champions League final, while Haaland has only just started to make his mark in the competition.

Haaland won the Champions League golden boot in 2020-21 with 10 goals in eight matches, and scored another 30 in domestic competition for Dortmund.

The 20-year-old has hit 57 goals in 59 outings for the Bundesliga club in total since moving to Westfalenstadion from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020, but has only picked up one trophy so far in the form of the DFB Pokal.

What else did Mbappe say?

Mbappe has previously stated that he tells himself he is better than Messi and Ronaldo as a motivational tactic, but has now conceded that he has a long way to go before reaching the same level as two players that have shared 11 Ballon d'Or awards between them.

“It’s not only me who knows that [they are the best],” he added. "If you tell yourself that you’ll do better than them, it’s beyond ego or determination — it’s lack of awareness.

"Those players are incomparable. They have broken all laws of statistics. They have had 10 extraordinary years, 15.”

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