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Mbappe v Haaland: Who Will do it Better?

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Mbappe v Haaland: The New-Age Rivalry

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Paris Saint Germain's Kylian Mbappe are the two names on every football fans’ lips at the moment. Mbappe's hat-trick at the Nou Camp last week against Barcelona and Haaland's brace the next day against Sevilla has signaled a new footballing rivalry between two of the most elite footballers on the planet. 

With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo well into the twilight of their careers, the footballing world is in need of new shining lights to lead the latest generation. Off the back of Mbappe's and Haaland's performances in the Champions League, we may have just witnessed the beginning of the changing of the guard.

We take a look at their journeys so far and who might go the furthest.

Mbappe's Rise has been like no other in the modern era

Kylian Mbappe announced himself on the European stage in the 2016/17 season with a pulsating performance away at Manchester City in a 5-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium for Monaco. That season was a real breakout year for the then 18-year-old as he managed 26 goals and 14 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions.

Mbappe's performances in Ligue 1 and the Champions League convinced French giants PSG to part with a whopping fee of €145m after a season on loan in the French capital where the youngster teamed up with world stars Neymar and Edinson Cavani in an incredible frontline.

At the end of Mbappe's first season with PSG, the pacey forward was unsurprisingly included in Didier Deschamps's national team squad for the 2018 World Cup finals. The Frenchman followed in the legendary Pele's footsteps in becoming only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final. The 19-year-old took personal awards from the competition too, winning the Best Young Player and French Player of the Year. 

Now 22, Mbappe continues to shine in domestic and European competitions, becoming the club's main man in the process, ahead of Neymar. The Frenchman has scored 21 goals and creates nine in 30 games this season for the Parisians. Mbappe's form and contract situation could see a scramble for his signature come the summer, with his current deal running out in 2022.

Haaland has the goals, however

The Leeds-born Norweigan has been a revelation since the start of the 2019/20 season, where he started with RB Salzburg. The 6'4 striker netted 16 goals in just 14 games in the Austrian Bundesliga, but it was his form in the Champions League that saw him become one of the hottest properties in Europe. The then 19-year-old managed an incredible eight goals in Salzburg's group stages, including a hat-trick on his debut in the competition against KRC Genk.

As the January transfer window opened, Haaland's incredible form resulted in several of Europe's top clubs vying for his signature but it was Borussia Dortmund who managed to capture the striker, paying his release clause of just €22.5m.

Since joining Dortmunds's ranks, Haaland's stock has continued to rise with the Norweigan taking the step up in quality with ease. The forward has managed an outstanding return since arriving at the Signal Iduna Park, with 30 goals in 32 Bundesliga games. Haaland has also continued his love affair with the Champions League in a BVB shirt in which he has scored 10 goals in seven games.

The prolific Haaland could be on the end of another transfer tug of war soon, with the Dortmund man reportedly having a €75m release clause that becomes available in 2022.

The Bundesliga is harder than Ligue 1

Looking at Mbappe's and Haaland's stats from last season alone, it is easy to see why the two are at the source of a rivalry. Their figures are astronomical in comparison to other players their age and it is already head and shoulders above that what Messi and Ronaldo put it in at this age. Mbappe played 37 games contributing 30 goals and 18 assists. Haaland, on the other hand, managed 44 goals and 10 assists in 40 games. Ultimately, the stats suggest the Norweigan is a better goalscorer than the Frenchman.

The minutes per goal supports this, with Haaland finding the net every 63 minutes compared to Mbappe, who scored on average every 91 minutes. In Mbappe's defence, though, the 22-year-old plays across the front three. During the 19/20 season, PSG had Neymar, Cavani, and Angel Di Maria to choose from, meaning Mbappe would often be used as a winger. Unlike the Frenchman, Haaland has been the focal point of attack for both RB Salzburg and Dortmund.

The German Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are two very different leagues in terms of quality. The Bundesliga ranks third in divisions in Europe by UEFA, with Ligue 1 coming fifth. This suggests that Haaland is performing week in week out against better opposition. But what about the competition they both play in, the Champions League?

Well, Mbappe scored five and assisted six in 10 appearances last season, helping his team to the final in doing so. But despite being knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 against Mbappe's PSG, Haaland outscored the Frenchman with 10 goals in eight appearances. 

Where they end up might conclude the argument

It's so easy to forget that despite all the goals, they're both still under the age of 23, with Haaland not even 21 until the summer. Furthermore, what has been one of the main differences in the Ronaldo-Messi debate is how the Portuguese star has broke records and taken over the Serie A, Premier League and La Liga in his near two decades of dominance, as opposed to Messi's sole life in La Liga.

So, where these two end up could be the difference in who comes out on top.

"I know he's always said that his dream is to play for Real Madrid," said Zinedine Zidane back in 2019, which only added fuel to the fire of this already ongoing transfer saga.

What might, however, prevent Mbappe from joining Real is the fact he is a Parisian himself having been born and raised in Paris with local club AS Bondy, which is just 6.8 miles from the centre of Paris. The Frenchman hasn't publically declared himself a PSG fan, but regardless, this is his home by nature and it's always tough to leave, especially when you're winning.

It does, on the other hand, just seem like a matter of time until we see the PSG star move to Madrid and complete what is now quite known to be a dream move for him. If he jons Real, their history in the Champions League could bolster his chances of winning Europe's greatest prize which will only move him closer to legendary status, whilst of course, Real compete for La Liga each year.

As for Haaland, it's completely unknown where he will go, but Manchester City seems the most logical guess. The Dortmund star is 5/2 to join them this summer, and with his dad once playing there, City's need to replace Aguero, the club's superior finances to afford him above most, it all adds up to him moving to the Etihad. Furthermore, if the club can get Messi in the summer, which also looks likely, Haaland may want to join even more.

If the Norwegian moves to Manchester, not just will City potentially win the lot as they are already on course to do so this campaign, they will dominate for years to come once more and, Haaland's goals will only increase in that manner.

Only time will tell where the two go, but with Dortmund's selling nature and Mbappe's supposed dream to play for Real, the two might be on the move sooner rather than later and then we will see them become the stars that get plastered across the record books.