The paths of Messi and Ronaldo have diverged, akin to the sentiment expressed in the song “See You Again” from Fast and Furious 7.
Messi ventured to the American club Inter Miami, while Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. The two premier footballers of the 21st century have chosen different continents as their new destinations. Ronaldo himself acknowledged in a recent interview that the intense rivalry spanning over a decade and a half has come to a close.
With Messi and Ronaldo’s departure, the torchbearers of European football are now presumed to be Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland. Their youth, goal-scoring prowess, and track record speak for themselves.
Nonetheless, Haaland doesn’t envision himself and Mbappé as immediate replacements for Messi and Ronaldo. The Norwegian striker for Manchester City believes that Messi and Ronaldo still have much to offer to the world of football. According to him, their move away from Europe to the United States and Saudi Arabia has reshaped football history.
Haaland’s debut season with Manchester City has exceeded all expectations. As he consistently shattered records with his prolific goal-scoring, he played a pivotal role in the team’s triumphant pursuit of the treble. While Messi achieved the ultimate by bringing the World Cup to Argentina, many now place Haaland ahead in the race for this year’s Ballon d’Or. The recipient of the prestigious title of the best footballer of the year will be revealed on October 30.
During an interview with France Football, the renowned magazine that bestows the Ballon d’Or, Haaland reflected on the enduring rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo and whether he and Mbappé could assume their mantle. He stated, “Everyone contemplates inheriting their place (Messi and Ronaldo’s). But we must openly acknowledge the incredible impact Messi and Ronaldo have had on European football. We should also bear in mind that, at their age, they continue to excel; they remain exceptional players.”
Regarding the potential showdown with Mbappé, the PSG star, Haaland, remarked, “I don’t engage in comparisons. I don’t perceive it in that manner. My singular focus lies in constant self-improvement and deriving enjoyment from the game. I aspire to become the best version of myself.”
When questioned about the prospect of winning the Ballon d’Or this year, Haaland humbly asserted that he doesn’t consider himself the best in the world. Furthermore, his media manager advised caution in selecting his words and venues for discourse.