Father time has a way of defeating everyone eventually. At their peak, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were unstoppable. It felt as though God himself wouldn’t be able to halt their progress.
But this season, we have seen that even the best of men are simply just that: mere mortals who have an expiry date. The world has never seen a rivalry between two individuals at the same time as between Ronaldo and Messi.
Eventually, someone will take over from them and here are five potential rivalries that could define the next decade…
5. Kylian Mbappe and Joao Felix
A spoiler for the rest of the article: Kylian Mbappe is going to be there in every possible combination because of all the players mentioned here, he is the likeliest to continue his onslaught as he has 89 goals to his name in just 151 competitive matches already. So, he will not be talked about in every selection.
Meanwhile, Joao Felix burst into the limelight last season with his brilliant work with Benfica. He is now at Atletico Madrid after Los Rojiblancos spent a record €126 million to sign him.
He has 22 goals from 51 competitive matches thus far and looks like a very good prospect.
4. Kylian Mbappe and Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho has become something else after leaving Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund in Germany. He has somewhat paved the way for young English players to go abroad in order to improve themselves as footballers as well as get opportunities to play regularly.
He has 18 goals from 63 matches, but it is his ability to create that stands out, having provided 24 assists so far, and is perhaps the best English talent in the world right now. The way he plays is a testament to what a genius he is as he could go down as the greatest English players of all time at this rate.
3. Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Junior
Of all the talented players named here, Vinicius Junior is perhaps the most raw in terms of development. The Brazilian was signed by Real Madrid last season and was among the few shining lights in Madrid’s dire campaign last season.
The Brazilian has a problem with his final-third execution but once that is solved, he could become of the best players in the world. He opened his account beautifully for Madrid against Osasuna with a well-taken shot from outside the box, and that could do a lot of good to his confidence.
2. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
After Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the instant rivalry we are most likely to have is the one between teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Both of them play for Paris Saint-Germain and both of them are outstanding players.
Nothing much needs to be said about Neymar since when he is on form, he is arguably the third-best player in the world after Messi and Ronaldo. He has 159 goals from 248 matches in European football and could easily win the Ballon d’Or in the future if he works diligently.
1. Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele
This is the rivalry that most would love to see. In terms of natural talent, Ousmane Dembele is perhaps even better than Kylian Mbappe but when it comes to discipline, he is far behind.
The former Rennes star has had his problems with consistency at the Camp Nou but he has always ripped the opposition apart when he has played well. He might have only 18 goals from 68 matches for Barcelona but he is capable of so much more if he can shake off his injury issues and works hard.
With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's rivalry reaching its final years, here are five potential rivalries that could take over...