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'It will be the Haaland era - and it's not even close' | Pat Nevin on Mbappé v Haaland

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

22:49 22 Feb 2021


It looks to be the debate that will be the next Ronaldo v Messi - and Pat Nevin believes there will be a clear winner in the Erling Haaland v Kylian Mbappé battle.

Nevin believes that in a few years' time, we will be looking back at another era defined by two players.

"I always try and step outside of the era that I am in, which is a really hard thing to do, but there was the 'Pele era'. We are just coming out of the 'Messi and Ronaldo era'.

"There are other brilliant players, but it is those two and that is it. In 20 years' time, we will look back on that.

"There is no doubt that it will be Haaland's era. There is a little bit of doubt - but not much - that Mbappé will be part of it as well. Who is going to be the bigger of the two? I think it will be Haaland by a mile."

'By a mile' is a phrase not often used comparing the two, who would appear there or thereabouts evenly-matched, if freakishly-gifted.

"I cannot see a weakness, I really cannot see a weakness. I can see a weakness in Mbappé which is not his pace, not his skill or ability - which are all world-class - I'm not always sure about his mental attitude all the time.

"Haaland, there is not a thing wrong there - everything is brilliant."

Haaland

Haaland - as per Ken Early's piece in the Irish Times - touches the ball fewer times than 90% of the forwards in the top five leagues. What explains that, in Nevin's view?

"I want to spend more time watching him, like all of us I have seen bits, and there are long parts of games where you don't see a lot of him.

"When Kevin De Bruyne gets the ball and there is a pass on, the ball will land there. Haaland is like that with goals. If there is an opportunity to find a space or create a space, he will find it.

"Most of the strikers might find it, or probably find it - but Haaland will find it and will probably score."

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