For nearly two decades, the most heated topic of discussion among football fans has been “who is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?” The two legends carry a tremendous club and international numbers, stacking together more than 1600 goals and 550 assists in their careers. However, as the new generation of football approaches so does new talents and competition.
Among the youngsters, there have been few players who have established themselves as future stars. Nevertheless, France's Kylian Mbappe and Norway's Erling Haaland are undoubtedly the two most well-known, and it is reasonable to assume that Mbappe and Haaland are presently fighting to establish themselves as the future soccer superstar of the world. Although, who exactly has the best potential of becoming football's future GOAT?
Both stars began their career during the 2015/16 season. While Haaland played for the Norwegian team, Bryne, Mbappe represented Monaco, in Ligue 1. Mbappe’s best season so far was in 2021/22 when the French striker managed to score 46 goals for French giants, PSG. On the other hand, Haaland’s best season up to now was during the 2019/20 season. The Norwegian scored 44 goals when performing for the Austrian team, RB Salzburg.
Again, Mbappe has a significant advantage over Haaland in terms of assists in club football over his entire career. In his first eight seasons, the Frenchman has already contributed over 100 assists. The PSG star also had the most assists, 26, in the 2021/22 season, while the Norwegian forward recorded his most assists in 2021/21, where he managed to make 21 passes that lead to a goal.
In terms of silverware, Mbappe has won five league titles and seven major knock-out competitions in his career so far. Out of the five league titles, four came with PSG and one with Monaco. On the contrary, Haaland has won two league titles and two major cup events. Haaland won with Red Bull Salzburg the league title in Austria. Internationally, Mbappe plays for a much stronger team than Haaland, an important aspect to take into account. This has resulted in the PSG ace having already won two major international titles for France. He helped France win the world cup in 2018 and the UEFA Nations League in the 2020/21 season. Furthermore, Mbappe can be considered by many to be France's main man in the World Cup last year. With tremendous performances every match, the striker guided his team into the final. Haaland, on the other hand, is yet to win an international trophy with his nation.
Statistically speaking, Mbappe has accomplished significantly more, both nationally and internationally. However, it is clear that Mbappe benefits a lot from playing with a well-structured national and international team. Nevertheless, both players have a lot of room to continue growing (or regressing) in the future. The argument for who is the next GOAT will continue for a long time, and even though Mbappe currently has the advantage, if we learned anything from the Ronaldo and Messi debate, anyone can take the lead going ahead. One thing is certain, this future GOAT competition will be thrilling to watch.