The future of football is in safe hands thanks to Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland

Football fans can be forgiven for thinking that the time of world-beaters is slowly coming to an end. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the world stage for more than a decade now.

Both superstars are, however, nearing retirement age. Messi is 34, while Ronaldo is 37. Moreover, both have endured frustrating seasons at their respective clubs.

Messi looks unrecognisable in a PSG shirt and has failed to reach his Barcelona heights for whatever reason. It could be a lack of interest, a lack of confidence, or that he simply misses his adopted home in Catalonia.

After posting astonishing figures over the years in Spain, the Argentine has just two goals from his 18 appearances in Ligue 1.

Ronaldo meanwhile, despite enjoying another fantastic season in front of goal, looks to be very perplexed at Manchester United’s current struggles. The Red Devils certainly aren’t what they used to be, and Ronaldo will undoubtedly want one last crack at Champions League football before he hangs up his boots.

Knowing both icons, they will most certainly have one final trick up their sleeves, whether that be in European football or, perhaps more likely, in Major League Soccer. MLS has witnessed several stars play out their latter years, including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Villa, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

All of those icons have since retired. Soon, it will be Messi and Ronaldo’s turn. Fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom, with two players ready to take over from where the legendary duo left off.

Cristiano Ronaldo

PSG starlet Mbappe leading the way

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland have proven over the last few years that, if anyone can even begin to dream of replicating the feats of Ronaldo and Messi, it is indeed them. At 23, Mbappe is already right up there among the best players in world football, with Haaland (21) not far behind him.

The French international has dominated all the headlines in Paris this season. That is despite being joined in the final third by Neymar and Messi. Mbappe, as proven in the recent Champions League encounter against Real Madrid, is the man that his club can rely on most when in desperate need.

The attacker has posted incredible figures this season. He boasts 26 goals and 17 assists from his 36 matches in all competitions. His sensational feats haven’t gone unnoticed, with the youngster posting similar totals all throughout his brief career so far.

The latest reports claim that the PSG star is close to agreeing on a switch to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Even Liverpool has been mentioned as a potential destination for the lightning-quick forward. But perhaps the pull of Madrid will be too persuasive for the youngster, who has always dreamed of emulating the heroics of former Galactico Ronaldo.

It’s clear that regardless of the marquee signings and endless money spent, PSG are not destined to bring home the Champions League trophy. Mbappe certainly deserves to be playing on the very biggest stage week in, week out, and so a move away from his beloved France may be on the cards this summer.

Kylian Mbappe

Erling Haaland enjoying a rapid rise to the top

Haaland meanwhile has enjoyed a more rapid rise. His phenomenal goalscoring exploits began as a teenager for Molde under the watchful eye of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. There, the striker hit 20 goals in 15 games, which earned him a move to Austrian champions RB Salzburg.

The rest, as they say, is history. Still only 21, the Norwegian is breaking all sorts of records for club and country. In an injury-hit campaign, he boasts 23 goals in 22 matches. 16 of those have come in 16 Bundesliga matches, with three arriving in Borussia Dortmund’s ultimately unsuccessful Champions League journey.

He’s hit four more in the DFB-Pokal, all the while chipping in with six assists in all competitions. The lethal forward has failed to score or assist in just two of his 14 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Like Mbappe, however, he is also deserving of a more exciting opportunity. Dortmund failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds this time around, before losing in the early stages of the Europa League against Rangers.

Domestically, they were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by FC St. Pauli. Recent events put them just four points behind Bayern Munich in the league table, but the striker will most certainly want to be winning titles on a regular basis.

Haaland has already witnessed former teammate Jadon Sancho have a go in England, with current teammate Jude Bellingham also linked with a switch to the Premier League. If the talented midfielder does make a move this summer, expect Haaland to follow in his footsteps.

Erling Haaland

Which other youngsters are impressing on the big stage?

There are, of course, plenty of other youngsters who certainly aren’t far behind Mbappe and Haaland when it comes to natural talent and future stardom. In the Premier League alone, the likes of Phil Foden (21), Jadon Sancho (21), Bukayo Saka (20), Kai Havertz (22), and Harvey Elliott (18) are well on their way to having fantastic careers.

In La Liga, Barcelona trio Pedri (19), Gavi (17) and Ansu Fati (19) have all began their careers in the fast lane, while Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior (21) is currently enjoying a phenomenal season, with 17 goals and 14 assists to his name. His teammate Eduardo Camavinga (19) is another with a big future in the game.

In the Bundesliga, youngsters Moussa Diaby (22) and Florian Wirtz (18) are already proving to be hugely talented players, as well as Dortmund’s Bellingham (18) of course. The same can be said for Aurelien Tchouameni (22) and Amine Gouiri (22) in Ligue 1.

Elsewhere across Europe, Julian Alvarez (22) and Ryan Gravenberch (19) are impressing at River Plate (on loan from Manchester City) and Ajax respectively, with Sandro Tonali (21) currently running the show at AC Milan.

With all the exciting talent across the globe, it’s fair to say that the future of football is in very safe hands.

Sandro Tonali