With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo entering their thirties and edging closer to retirement, the search for their heirs begins.
However, we don’t really have to look particularly hard with the likes of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe already looking like Ballon d’Or winners in the making.
At the age of 21, Mbappe is already a World Cup winner having scored in the 2018 final against Croatia – becoming the first teenager to score in football’s greatest showpiece since Pele in 1958. He’s also the second most expensive player of all time.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Haaland has burst onto the scene with Red Bull Salzburg and is now tearing up the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.
But both superstars have a little way to go to beat Messi’s record in the Champions League as a youngster.
Looking at the most goals scored in Europe’s elite competition by a player under the age of 23, Haaland and Mbappe both make the top 10 and will be setting their sights on Messi’s tally.
But let’s take a look at the top 10:
=10 | Patrick Kluivert | 10 goals
=10 | Erling Haaland | 10 goals
10 | Cesc Fabregas | 10 goals
=8 | Wayne Rooney | 13 goals
8 | Gabriel Jesus | 13 goals
7 | Javier Saviola | 15 goals
=5 | Andriy Shevchenko | 16 goals
5 | Alessandro Del Piero | 16 goals
4 | Karim Benzema | 17 goals
3 | Kylian Mbappe | 19 goals
2 | Raul | 22 goals
1 | Lionel Messi | 25 goals
We know what you’re thinking: Where is Cristiano Ronaldo?
Well, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner only managed eight goals in the Champions League before his 23rd birthday. That puts him level with the likes of Nicklas Bendtner and John Carew – and one less than Obafemi Martins.
But looking at the top 10, Haaland has three more seasons to add 15 goals to his name in the Champions League. Considering he bagged 10 this season alone, that seems incredibly likely.
Everywhere you look in the list, though, you will see some incredible goalscorers who have lit up the greatest club competition in the world down the years with their goals.
But it seems Messi will shortly be relinquishing his crown to first Mbappe and then Haaland looks likely to eclipse the Frenchman.
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- Roberto Carlos: Ronaldo is the greatest of all time, not Lionel Messi or Cristiano