Xavi names the two players who will replace Messi and Ronaldo at the top

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga

It’s a sad feeling knowing that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will both have to retire from professional football one day.

Both players, who have each win five Ballon d’Or awards, are in their 30s and Ronaldo has started to show signs of a decline this season.

The Real Madrid star has scored just eight goals in 17 La Liga matches this season and appears vincible for the first time in a long time.

That said, Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe believes claims that Ronaldo is declining are pure rubbish.

"Ronaldo is not on the decline. If he is on the decline, there are many more players on the decline then," Mbappe said this week, per Goal.

Last year marked the 10th straight year that either Messi or Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or award, and that number will reach 11 if Messi can continue his superb form for Barcelona.

Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga

Xavi: The two players who will replace Messi and CR7

Whichever player breaks their dominance will go down in history and Spanish legend Xavi thinks he knows who it will be.

The former Barcelona midfielder believes Neymar will be the next player not named Messi or Ronaldo to scoop the biggest individual prize in football, and he believes the Brazilian will battle with PSG teammate Mbappe to be the best player in the world for years to come.

“I have huge respect for him, he’s a fantastic footballer,” Xavi said about Neymar to RMC Sport.

“When Messi and Cristiano lower their level, he will be the next Golden Ball winner.

“When Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire, the debate about the best in the world will be between Neymar and Mbappe.”

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How exciting for PSG, knowing that they have two of the finest players on the planet in their ranks.

Mbappe actually remains a Monaco player but his loan move to the Parc des Princes will become a permanent one in the summer.

The pair have combined to score 42 goals for PSG season and we will get a better idea of whether they are primed to become one of Europe’s genuine contenders when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League round-of-16.

Unai Emery’s side travel to Spain for the first leg next week before hosting the reigning European champions on March 6.

It’s easily the tie of the round.

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