Messi vs Mbappé: a rivalry of past vs present?
Two of the current best soccer players in the world, and teammates at PSG, will clash at the World Cup final on Sunday. Who will come out on top?
France and Argentina will play in the World Cup final on Sunday, and this matchup has all the storylines you could hope for. Defending champs vs a team out to get their first trophy since the 80s. Europe vs South America. And best of all, two of the best current players in soccer, teammates, going up against each other - a rivalry of past and present.
Messi vs Mbappé
Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé are two of the best players in the world right now. That has shown as they’ve taken their respective teams to the final and have both been key in doing so. These two have spent the last two years playing on the same club team with PSG. Together, they are an incredible duo. But against each other, who will come out on top?
Messi, who is 35 years old, will be playing in his last World Cup match of his career. Of all his accolades, the World Cup trophy is the only thing missing. He will look to cement himself as the greatest of all time by the end of the game on Sunday, while bringing Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986.
Mbappé, at 23 years old, has already become one of the greatest in the world. He will be playing in his second World Cup final with France, after winning it in 2018. He could become the first player since Pele to win two World Cups by the age of 23.
How do Messi and Mbappé compare?
When you compare these two, it’s a pretty even competition. They are both obviously at different stages in their career - Messi, a well-known soccer genius, and Mbappé, the future of the sport. But their numbers are equally impressive.
Messi has played in 853 matches at the club level, with 701 goals and 333 assists. For Argentina, he’s played in 171 games with 96 goals and 55 assists. He is on the verge of becoming the first player to ever score in the group stage, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final of the World Cup.
Mbappé is no stranger to the net either. In 297 club matches, he’s scored 217 goals and had 109 assists. For France, he’s played in 65 games with 33 goals and 23 assists. He may be less experienced than Messi, but he’s no less talented. Last season, Mbappé scored 39 goals across all competitions for PSG while scoring 42, 30, and 39 in the previous seasons before that.
How have Messi and Mbappé fared against each other in the past?
Messi and Mbappé have met twice in the Champions League knockout round while Messi was still with Barcelona. The first leg saw Messi score the first goal, but Mbappé scored a hat trick and PSG walked away with a 4-1 lead. Both Messi and Mbappé scored in the second leg as well, but Mbappé got the better of it again, with PSG winning 5-2 on aggregate.
The two have experience playing against each other at the World Cup, too. The last time their countries faced each other, it was in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As we all know, France went on to become the World Cup champions. In that game, which France won 4-3, Mbappé scored two goals and Messi scored none.
In the 2022 World Cup, so far, Mbappé has scored five goals for France and has two assists. Messi has also scored five for Argentina and has three assists. Both players will undoubtedly play a big role when France and Argentina face off this Sunday.
The exciting showdown World Cup finale will kick off at 10 a.m. ET from Lusail Stadium.