23-year-old Kylian Mbappé could overtake these Pelé, Ronaldo and Messi World Cup records

Kylian Mbappé has scored 14 goals in France’s last 12 matches.

At 23 years old, the young striker is scoring World Cup goals at a historic pace. After scoring in both of France’s matches thus far in Qatar, including two in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Denmark, it doesn’t look like he has any plans of slowing down.

Mbappé now has seven World Cup goals in his young career. That’s more than France legend Thierry Henry, who played in four World Cups.

For context, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 37 and 35 respectively, have scored eight total World Cup goals in their entire careers.

The French superstar is also now tied with Brazil’s all-time leading scorer, Pelé, for most goals in World Cup history before turning 24. It seems likely that Mbappé will overcome the legendary Pelé for that record before the action is over in Qatar.

In 2018, at age 19, Mbappe became the second-youngest player (after Pelé) to score in a World Cup final.

Both of Mbappé’s Saturday goals came after stellar pass plays. In the 61st minute, he received a touch pass from Theo Hernandez and nailed a shot past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Almost 30 minutes later, he electrified the crowd with his second goal of the game. He capitalized on a cross from Antoine Griezmann with a touch at the far post.

With the win, the defending champions secured their place in the Round of 16, but first must face Tunisia on Wednesday in the final game of the group stage. After that they will look to advance to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to repeat as World Cup champions. Mbappé will no doubt play a crucial role in that effort for Les Bleus.

A serious discussion point on five-a-side pitches and barstools across the world, the issue of which player is the greatest of all time persists

Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi – who is the GOAT? It is the biggest conundrum in football since the ‘Diego Maradona or Pele?’ debate.

The question of who is better between the Portuguese phenomenon and the empyrean Argentine has dominated the minds of football fans everywhere for the past decade and will persist into the future.

Club and national loyalties can cloud judgement on the matter, while personalities also play a part in how good a player is perceived to be, and most people know who they’d pick.

So who really is the greatest of all time? Never mind who you prefer, GOAL has taken a look at how the pair actually shape up head-to-head so you can be fully armed with facts in the eternal argument.

Ronaldo has scored more club goals than Messi, but only just and it should be noted that the Manchester United star benefits from having played two more seasons than his Argentine nemesis thus far.

Each of them has remarkably netted over 690 club goals in their career so far, with the five seasons between 2009-10 and 2014-15 proving particularly golden as they pushed each other to greater heights.

While Ronaldo currently has more goals overall, Messi has the edge in the scoring department, with a higher season average (37.9 to 35), having hit a high of 73 goals in 2011-12, though his average dropped after a disappointing maiden campaign at PSG in 2021-22.

Ronaldo’s highest season return was 61, which he achieved in 2014-15, and he surpassed the 50-goal mark every season for six years between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

Interestingly, while Ronaldo’s seasonal totals have declined somewhat in recent years – he failed to break the 30-goal mark in 2018-19 during his first season at Juventus – Messi’s have remained consistent, though the Argentine’s rate slowed after joining PSG.

When it comes to assists, Messi is much superior to Ronaldo and that contrast has become increasingly stark as their respective roles evolve.

The fact that Messi creates so many goals as well as scoring them is a major consideration when deciding which player is the GOAT and, while Ronaldo chips in with his fair share, the difference in this particular realm is stark.

Ronaldo is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League, having shone in the competition with Manchester United and Real Madrid in particular.

However, Messi isn’t far behind and actually has a fractionally better goal-per-game ratio, so there is a good chance that he could overtake the Man United man if he continues to sparkle in the competition .

Ronaldo also holds the record for most overall Champions League appearances, having overtaken Iker Casillas.

When it comes to World Cups, Ronaldo and Messi are considered underperformers due to the simple fact that neither has won the competition.

Portugal star Ronaldo has scored more goals at the tournament and in fewer appearances, but Messi can claim to have gone furthest, having reached the final with Argentina in 2014. The PSG attacker won the Golden Ball during that tournament, despite missing out on the ultimate glory at the hands of Germany.

The furthest Ronaldo reached with Portugal was the Selecao’s run to the semi-final in 2006, when they were beaten by France before losing the third-place play-off against Germany.

Ronaldo and Messi have similar records at international level, though Ronaldo boasts greater numbers, partly because his senior Portugal career kicked off two years before Messi’s with Argentina.

Ronaldo equalled Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals at Euro 2020 and then surpassed it with two goals against the Republic of Ireland, becoming the top international goalscorer of all time.

Messi is a long way behind Ronaldo in that respect, though he is by some distance Argentina’s top goalscorer of all time, surpassing the great Gabriel Batistuta some years ago.

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