Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo compared at same age as 20-year-old Kylian Mbappe


Kylian Mbappe further enhanced his reputation this week by helping Paris Saint-Germain record an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

PSG were without Neymar and Edinson Cavani, putting the onus on 20-year-old Mbappe to take the Champions League last-16 first leg tie by the scruff of the neck.

Although all of his teammates stood up to be counted against United, Mbappe made headlines by scoring PSG’s second of the night following a typically electrifying run.

Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly had a good five-yard head-start on the French forward, but he beat the pair of them to Angel Di Maria’s cross and stuck the ball past David de Gea.

Not only is he lightning quick - quite possibly the fastest footballer in the world right now - but his technical qualities are also world-class. It’s scary to imagine how good he’ll be a few years down the line.

At the age of 20 years and one months, Mbappe has already scored 14 Champions League goals.

That’s 12 more than Lionel Messi had netted at the same age, and 14 more than Ronaldo, who hadn’t registered a single goal in Europe’s premier cup competition by this point.

These stats show how extraordinarily well Mbappe has done in his short career so far - he’s already won the World Cup, too - but is he really a better player than Messi and Ronaldo were at the same age?

Let’s have a look at some of Messi’s highlights from the 2007-08 campaign when the Barcelona forward was 20 years old.

The Argentina international often played on the wing at this point - he only started playing in the False 9 role under Pep Guardiola - which explains his lack of Champions League goals compared to Mbappe.

But he was still unquestionably world-class by this point, producing big performances in both La Liga and in Europe.

At the end of the 2007/08 campaign, Messi had scored 16 goals in 40 games for Barcelona.

Would you rather have 20-year-old Messi or 20-year-old Mbappe in your team? It’s such a tough one to call.

FC Barcelona's Argentinian Leo Messi cel...

And what about 20-year-old Ronaldo?

We’ll take his highlights from the 2005-06 campaign, rather than the previous season, considering he turned 20 in February 2005.

At this point, Ronaldo was both brilliant and frustrating to watch in equal measure.

He wasn’t the prolific goalscorer that we know today, he was a tricky winger who loved nothing more than embarrassing opponents with his mesmeric skills.

Ronaldo’s end product needed a lot of work at this moment in time, but he always believed he would become the world’s best footballer.

At the end of the 2005-06 campaign, Ronaldo has scored 12 goals in 47 games.

In a comparison between 20-year-old Ronaldo and 20-year-old Mbappe, the latter probably wins - even though Cristiano obviously developed into a monster a little later down the line.

Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers

Both videos show that Mbappe is well ahead of where he should be given his age.

Don’t be surprised if we’re talking about him in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo in 10 years time.

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