Kylian Mbappe continued to make Champions League history with his brace against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The Paris St Germain forward, already the youngest player to reach 25 goals in the competition, has now passed Lionel Messi to become the absolute leader in goals before turning 23.
Erling Haaland was kept at bay by Manchester City on Tuesday but the Borussia Dortmund star also has a formidable record at his young age and here the PA news agency is comparing the duo to their illustrious predecessors.
Young duo setting new standards
Messi has scored 25 Champions League goals ahead of his 23rd birthday out of his 120 so far while trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time table.
He was 22 years and 286 days old when he became the fastest player to reach that mark, a record since broken by Mbappe who was 206 days younger when he struck against Barcelona last month.
Mbappe rose to 27 on Wednesday and won’t be 23 until Christmas, giving him the rest of the current campaign and next season’s group stage to add to that tally.
Whatever his final record, he could be threatened by Haaland who already has 20 goals and won’t even be 21 until July – already breaking Mbappe’s record of 19 at that age.
The Norwegian has scored those first 20 in 14 remarkable games, sparked by a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Salzburg in 2019.
Dortmund may be a cut below the mainland’s elite, but with a largely scheduled summer outing for Haaland, all potential contenders will be among the struggling clubs for the greatest honor and give him plenty of chances to pump up his record.
Can the pair challenge all-time records?
It’s very early but Mbappe and Haaland are definitely on the right track.
Ronaldo, who has a record 134 Champions League goals under his belt, didn’t score at all until his 21st birthday and took 27 games to smash his duck in the competition proper.
Messi took five games to get out of goal and 23 to hit double the numbers – as many games as Haaland (eight) and Mbappe (15) combined.
The Barcelona star accelerated to 20 out of 40 games, a number matched by Mbappe even as Haaland began to demolish the record by being the fastest to reach that mark.
Ronaldo and Messi are the only players in triple digits for Champions League goals, with Robert Lewandowski a third out of 73. The Polish striker reached that mark in 96 games, scoring 17 in 28 for Dortmund and 56 in 68 for his current club, Bayern. Munich.
Mbappe’s goals-per-game record is lower than Lewandowski’s, but his youth and position in the game – plus the eventual endorsement of an expansion of the competition format – should provide increased opportunities, while Haaland is better off. that a goal-a-game pace in his still nascent Champions League career.
Raul, Karim Benzema, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry are the other players over 50, with a few more ahead of Mbappe and Haaland in the race to join them.
Lewandowski’s Bayern teammate Thomas Muller is three away, one behind AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic who could return to competition again next season.
Sergio Aguero’s next move after Manchester City will dictate his chances of adding significantly to his 41 Champions League goals, although Mbappe’s teammate Neymar seems sure to advance by the same mark.
After them, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has just one goal ahead of Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann (25), Angel Di Maria (22), Alvaro Morata and Raheem Sterling (both 21) are the only other active players ahead of Haaland. .