Kylian Mbappe already way ahead of where Lionel Messi was at 23

Messi’s reign at the top of world soccer looks set to end, with Mbappe set to take over the mantle at just 23. Planet Sport looks back to see how Messi compares to his PSG team-mate at the same age.

Even at 34, Lionel Messi remains a master of his trade, and is the reigning Ballon d'Or holder, but there are signs he may be starting to slow down. This season, he has just seven goals in 25 games for Paris Saint-Germain.

In his place comes a brash young Frenchman, 11 years Messi's junior, going by the name of Kylian Mbappe.

Comparisons come easily with the two side by side in Paris, but how about when they were both the same age?

Planet Sport crunches the numbers to compare Mbappe now with Messi at the age of 23 years and four months.


Lionel Messi scoring Barcelona Feb08

Messi was the same age Mbappe is now in late October 2010 and was in his seventh season as part of Barcelona's first team. At that point he had scored 139 goals for Barca's first team, plus six for the club's 'B' and 'C' sides, in a total of 247 appearances.

If those are the numbers for a titan like Messi, we should all be very, very excited indeed about Mbappe - as if we weren't already. The French international has, for Monaco and PSG, already amassed 188 goals in 278 games, putting him ahead by almost a half-century of strikes.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe


Though both Mbappe and Messi's primary role is to find the back of the net, they also have to demonstrate the complete range of abilities required for forward play, and that naturally means setting up goals for their team-mates.

Mbappe has 80 assists, with 71 of those for PSG and nine for Monaco.

Full details for Messi's assists in each individual match he has played for Barcelona are not available, but by the end of the 2010/11 season, when he was seven months older than Mbappe is now, he had registered 65. Mbappe is already surging into the lead.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe


Lionel Messi Champions League medal May09

After PSG's elimination from the Champions League by Real Madrid, neither Mbappe nor Messi will be adding Europe's most-coveted trophy to their respective cabinets this season. That presents far less of an issue for Messi than it does for Mbappe, with the Argentine having already won 11 team trophies by the time he reached Mbappe's current age.

Those trophies included a Champions League - in 2008/09 - and that is one piece of silverware that Mbappe is yet to get his hands on.

However, PSG's domestic dominance means he is in fact dead level, also having won 11 trophies.

He does also hold the honour of having won Ligue 1 for four seasons in a row between 2016/17 and 2019/20, across two different teams.

Winner: Messi, by virtue of the Champions League success

Individual honours

Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or Dec09

Mbappe and Messi's teams up to 23 years and four months may have been equally successful, but in terms of individual honours, there is a clear winner.

Only taking into account annual honours which are handed out to just one recipient, Mbappe has been recognised for his individual efforts 16 times including the French Player of the Year twice - in 2019 and 2019.

Using the same criteria, Messi, meanwhile, had at that point received nine honours.

The rising star takes this one.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe

International statistics

Kylian Mbappe France World Cup Jul18

Somewhat incredibly, they are again locked dead level when it comes to appearances, with both having earned 53 at that age.

It's a different story in terms of goals, though, with Mbappe's 24 strikes in those 53 appearances for France putting him comfortably clear of Messi, who scored 14 in the same number of games with Argentina.

When trophies are factored in as well, Mbappe consolidates his advantage in the international arena, with a World Cup and a Nations League title.

Another one to the Frenchman.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe

Overall winner: Kylian Mbappe (4-1)

Planet Earth, prepare for some quite sheer footballing dominance over the coming years from Kylian Mbappe.

He outperforms Lionel Messi in four of the five categories we've seen and is only narrowly edged out in the other.

Over the past decade, we've seen the Argentine take the sport to new heights, doing things with a football mere humans never thought possible.

Yet, if Mbappe's stats at the same age are anything to go by, France, PSG - and who knows, perhaps even Real Madrid fans have a truly extraordinary talent to enjoy in the future.

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