Football rivalries are fans’ favourite ever since the sport was born. To date, we hear about football rivalries from decades ago. Pele vs Maradona, Lampard vs Gerrard, Keane vs Vierra, Buffon vs Casillas, admit it, we have all been victims of these rivalries, often choosing our favourite and fighting other fan bases. The most famous rivalry in football is undoubtedly Messi vs Ronaldo. The two legends have divided the world of football into two halves ever since they established themselves as global superstars.
The rivalry truly began in 2008 when the two went on to win Ballon d’Ors for over a decade. But now, the players have started to age and are not performing at the high standards set by themselves as we are witnessing the last stages of this iconic rivalry. But football fans need not worry as two youngsters who have burst onto the scene in the past few seasons are again dividing fanbases from around the world. Norwegian Erling Haaland and Frenchman Kylian Mbappe are on every top European clubs’ list. But with only a few that can afford them, we are going to dive right in and look at who the better player is and who would you rather have in your team?
Name: Erling Braut Haaland
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Preferred Foot: Left
FIFA U-20 World Cup- Record for number of goals scored by a player in a single match (9 goals)
UEFA Champions League- First player in history to score six goals in his first three games.
Bundesliga – First player in history to score five goals in his first two games.
Name: Kylian Mbappe Lottin
Position: Striker/ Left Winger
Preferred Foot: Right
“Golden Boy” Award 2017.
“Kopa Trophy” Award 2018.
“FIFA World Cup Best Young Player” Award 2018.
“French Player of the Year” Award 2018.
Ligue 1- Young Player of the Year Award in 2016–17, 2017-18, 2018-2019.
Mbappe has been in the professional circuit for a longer time and has more goals and assists than Haaland. But to truly compare the two, we will have to examine how influential they have been in the number of games they have played.
Mbappe averages a goal every 104 minutes while Haaland does it in 90.
Mbappe averages an assist every 213 minutes while Haaland does it in 341.
These stats portray a picture of the style of play. Haaland operates through the middle channel. He almost plays in a straight line in and around the opponent’s box. He is the target man who looks to score every goal. His teammates work to get him the ball so he can score. He is a traditional number 9 and has played in that position his entire life. He demands the ball so he can score as he is a lethal finisher.
Mbappe on the other hand is a forward who has played across the front 3 his entire life. He started his career at PSG as a Right Winger having played Centre Forward as well as a Left Winger for the French club. Mbappe loves to have the ball at his feet so he can dribble opponents and run with the ball. During games, he often drifts wide to create space and chances. He tends to provide from the wing and open up the defence.
Domestic Stats from 20/21
|Appearances||Goals||Assists||Mins Played||Minutes per goal||Shot Accuracy|
Stats from Ligue 1 and Bundesliga
Both Haaland and Mbappe had similar stats. Despite playing 3 more games, Mbappe had played similar number of minutes in the league as they both scored 27 goals but the Norwegian had 8 assists compared to Mbappe’s 7.
UEFA Champions League
|Appearances||Goals||Assists||Shots||xG||S C||C C|
Stats until Quarter Finals of 20/21 Champions League
Shots- Shots per 90 xG- Expected goals per 90 S C- Shot Conversion per 90
C C- Chances Created per 90
Comparing the two young sensational superstars in club competition’s biggest stage is one of the fairest ways of judging them. Haaland burst onto the scene with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg while Mbappe broke records with Monaco before his transfer to French giants PSG.
Mbappe has played more games in the champions league and has 25 goals and 16 assists to his name. Despite playing lesser games, Haaland is close to Mbappe in the number of goals he has scored. But the Norwegian lacks far behind in assists. In terms of shots taken per 90, the pair have similar stats but Haaland has done the same in lesser number of games. This shows his attacking instinct and how is playstyle is that of an out-and-out goalscorer. Similarly, his expected goals per game is higher than the Frenchman. But Mbappe’s creativity takes the edge as he leads over Haaland in terms of chances created per 90 and he has the assists to show for that.
Erling Haaland ended the champions league season as the top scorer with 10 goals despite being knocked out in the quarter-finals. Kylian Mbappe came in second with 8 goals.
Attacking Stat Comparison
KP- Key passes per game Ppg- Passes per game SP% – Pass success %
Dribbles- Dribbles attempted (Ligue 1/Bundesliga) SD- Successful Dribbles
PS- Penalties Scored
These stats clearly show Mbappe’s creativity. He plays more passes and key passes per game and also has a higher pass success percent. He dribbled almost 4 times more than Haaland.
Kylian Mbappe is more of a creator than a goalscorer. He’ll be seen in the wide channels taking on defenders looking to create chances. Erling Haaland is your target man. He will always be in the box and will look to get on the end of every ball. He wants to finish every attack and score as many goals as humanly possible. He works like a machine; his job is to just score goals and he loves having his name on the scoresheet. Mbappe is a modern-day winger; he’s got the flair, the dribbling skills as well as the ability to hit the ball in the back of the net. With both players valued at over €100 million and rumoured to be on the move, they both bring a unique set of skills to the table. But the question is, who would you rather have in your team?