Kolo Toure: Haaland-Mbappe rivalry will replace Messi-Ronaldo debate

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Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe can replicate the rivalry enjoyed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Kolo Toure.

Kolo Toure sees no reason why Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe cannot take up the mantle of football’s great rivalry.

Haaland scored his 49th goal of the season as Manchester City beat Arsenal 4-1 on Wednesday, while Mbappe is enjoying another stellar campaign at Paris Saint-Germain as well as winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Qatar.

Mbappe’s 34 goals in all competitions this term is only bettered by Haaland’s extraordinary tally for players from Europe’s top five leagues.

With Mbappe’s club-mate Lionel Messi reaching the twilight of his career and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Europe for Saudi Arabia, former City and Arsenal defender Toure has no doubt that the France star, 24, and Haaland, 22, will battle it out. at the top of the game.

“Absolutely, absolutely. They are both incredibly great players,” Toure told Stats Perform.

“Young, hungry players with great qualities, playing for top clubs. You can see the rivalry coming, you can feel it because they are both goalscorers.

“Obviously they have different qualities. There is one who is a really good scorer and one who – yes, he can score goals, but he can also provide, he can dribble.”

“It will be really interesting to see both of them fight because they are definitely the next generation.

Haaland, who laid on two assists for Kevin De Bruyne against Arsenal, lacked his usual clinical edge in the game, seeing several attempts saved by Aaron Ramsdale before finally scoring his goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Haaland has now scored 33 league goals for the season, a new record in a 38-game Premier League campaign and one clear of the competition’s all-time best of 34 (held by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole).

“He is a very dominant striker,” Toure said of the Norwegian international.

“But one thing I have to say is that he chose the right thing for himself because he is a scorer and he needs to play for a team that will give him the ball.

“When you’ve got De Bruyne, you’ve got [Bernard] Silva, you’ve got [Ilkay] Gundogan, you’ve got Jack Grealish around you, unbelievable players to give him the ball, the quality they show to support him is unbelievably great.

“That’s so smart of the boy to make the right decision.

“He got on the right team. We’re going to make it work for him to just finish because he’s a finisher.”

“His control, the way he handled the ball to lift the team when Arsenal were pressing him, it was unbelievable. I saw a player who could get the ball off his feet, take the ball, dribble around two, three, three players.” and have a shot.

“That shows his quality and there’s a lot of room for him to keep improving. He’s in the right team, he’s got the right manager and he’s definitely going to continue to improve. But what he’s shown is incredible.”

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