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Cristiano Ronaldo's duel with Lionel Messi was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime case of two all-time greats going head-to-head - but two brilliant young attackers are drawing comparisons.
Kylian Mbappe, already a World Cup winner at 21, was widely viewed as the next great striker of his generation. But the red-hot form of 19-year-old Erling Haaland, who already has seven goals in 11 games since his January move to Borussia Dortmund, has seen fans call this the next Ronaldo vs Messi.
Obviously the Ronaldo v Messi rivalry will never be matched not just in football but in all sport, but I think what we're about to witness is the Erling Haaland v Kylian Mbappe rivalry over the next decade. And boy, I'm ready for it! pic.twitter.com/9H6OmnFn57- RJ (@nwoye_chike) February 19, 2020
The young duo faced off in the Champions League this week, just as Messi and Ronaldo have done so often in their club careers. Haaland was the outstanding winner on this occasion, his powerful double giving Dortmund a 2-1 win over PSG - although he was incredibly zen about it.
Mbappe registered an assist for Neymar's goal but was otherwise quiet. However he has a chance for revenge when the two sides meet in Paris for the second leg.
Just a quick reminder for CL stats:- :flag_kr: :yellow_heart: (@MrAco09) February 19, 2020
Messi: 10 goals after 22 games
Mbappe: 10 goals after 17 games
CR7: 10 goals after 21 games
Neymar: 10 goals after 18 games
Suarez: 10 goals after 18 games
HAALAND: 10 GOALS AFTER 7 GAMES
These stats are unreal, this is my striker :astonished: pic.twitter.com/IngCe8iJkG
Fans are already excitedly picking sides in the debate - although there doesn't seem to be quite the obsessive mania that exists between the biggest Messi and Ronaldo advocates. For now.
Please dont judge him with just a single match, we all know what lad can do- :flag_ng: Royal-Tee :flag_ca: (@ObajemuJnr) February 18, 2020
HAALAND IS SO CLEAR OF MBAPPE THIS GUY IS GENERATIONAL OH MY WORD- Augustine:flag_ng: #IGHALOHive (@ausnoff) February 18, 2020
Wait people are saying Haaland is better than Mbappe???? Might have to log off for a week- (@glazerpuppet) February 19, 2020
Who is your future :goat:?- Sultan D Analyst :flag_ng: (@QuadriSultan3) February 18, 2020
Retweet for Mbappe
Like for Haaland pic.twitter.com/5Ii7XVsKOF
Many have pointed out that Haaland has fired in an incredible 60 goals in his first 100 club games, while Mbappe netted only 27. But the French attacker hasn't always played as an out-and-out striker, unlike the Leeds-born Norwegian who's confessed to watching and rewatching his goals.
Like Ronaldo and Messi, there's an age gap of just a couple of years between the two players. And - while it's setting the bar ridiculously high to compare them to a pair who share 11 Ballon d'Or awards between them - it's impossible not to get excited.
Can Mbappe vs Haaland become the Ronaldo vs Messi? And if so, who's likely to come out on top? Let us know in the comments below.
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