The 2021/2022 season might have seen a changing of the guard when it comes to the greatest football players in the world.
The God-like status of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has began to diminish. Not for their past exploits of course, for those they were always be remembered as the greatest of their era, but when it comes to the present day they are no longer untouchable.
The new kids on the block in Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are putting up frightening numbers as they attempt to cement their own special legacy in the game.
“At this moment in time, for the first time in years, if you asked people which player in the world they would sign if I could only pick one, no one would say Messi or Ronaldo, they would likely say Mbappe, Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski.” Gary Neville said on Sky Sports earlier this year, per The Mirror.
But have Mabppe and Haaland truly surpassed their heroes in terms of on-pitch performance?
Well, our friends at PlanetFootball took it upon themselves to find out exactly that, by breaking down the stats from each individual’s club campaign this season.
Now, obviously, there are many variables across a season. Messi has found it difficult to adapt to his new surroundings, Ronaldo has been operating within a below par United team, but we think their findings are a pretty accurate representation of where each player is at right now.
Lionel Messi 2021/2022 stats
Sub appearances: 2
Penalties scored: 2
Minutes per goal: 261
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 319.1
Minutes per goal or assist: 114.8
It’s an underwhelming return by Messi’s magical standards, although maybe not so surprising given he’s looked lost at times on the field at his new club.
Adapting to a new team and new country after spending so long with Barcelona was never going to be easy though, and maybe fans have been quick to judge with many writing him off completely.
At the end of the day 25 goal contributions in 34 matches is hardly a poor debut season, especially considering he’s hit the woodwork more than anyone else in Europe’s top five leagues (11).
In his final campaign with Barca he managed 52 goal contributions in 47 matches so the challenge will be to return to those numbers now he’s had time to settle.
Still, it looks like we have probably seen the best of the great man.
Cristiano Ronaldo 2021/2022 stats
Sub appearances: 4
Penalties scored: 3
Minutes per goal: 134.2
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 153.3
Minutes per goal or assist: 119.2
Ronaldo has enjoyed a much stronger campaign than Messi in-front of goal, however, loses out when it comes to minutes per goal or assist thanks to the Argentine’s creative influence at PSG.
It’s hardly surprising that Ronaldo has topped United’s goal scoring charts with his tally of 24, but you get the sense that figure could be so much higher if he was operating in a more effective team.
The Red Devils have been abysmal this year, and despite failing to win a single league match that Ronaldo hasn’t started in, plenty of fingers have been pointed at the Portuguese icon for his part in proceedings.
Something which, quite frankly, is ridiculous. He was brought in to be match winner and that’s exactly what he’s done – one has to question where United would be without their superstar.
Erling Haaland 2021/2022 stats
Sub appearances: 4
Penalties scored: 8
Minutes per goal: 82.3
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 113.7
Minutes per goal or assist: 64.5
Once a player begins to average more than a goal per game you know he’s a freak and Erling Haaland is exactly that.
His tally of 29 goals in 26 starts for Borussia Dortmund is a frightening statistic for any Premier Club not called Manchester City.
And when you take into account his average of a goal contribution every 64.5 minutes, well, if he can recreate that form next season then there’s little chance for anyone going up against Pep Guardiola’s men.
There is one standout concern when it comes to reviewing the statistics from Haaland, though. His total of 30 matches played is less than any other player on this list, despite being just 21-years-old.
To say the Norwegian has been injury prone would be understatement and he’s suffered with a torn hamstring, hip flexor problems and muscular injuries at various stages across his career, something which is always a worrying sign for an explosive striker.
Kylian Mbappe 2021/2022 stats
Sub appearances: 2
Penalties scored: 5
Minutes per goal: 100.3
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 115
Minutes per goal or assist: 60.1
And just when you thought Haaland couldn’t be topped, Mbappe goes clear.
You couldn’t pick a fault in the Frenchman’s game if you tried and so it’s no wonder PSG pulled out literally all the stops to keep him at the club.
A mind-blowing 65 goal involvements in 46 games is an incredible return from the 23-year-old and it seems only a matter of time before he picks up his first Ballon d’Or.
Jurrien Timber to Manchester United CONFIRMED (The Football Terrace):