Comparing Ronaldo Nazario and Kylian Mbappe at 22 years of age is an interesting prospect and both have qualities and abilities that are not unlike each other when you dig deeper.
In the late 1990s, a teenage sensation from streets of Rio De Janeiro shocked the world with talent and skills never seen like before. Ronaldo Nazario at the age of just 18 moved to European football and never looked back. A generation of football fans were astonished to see a youngster become a superstar so early. Fast forward 20 years and a young Parisian boy rose to prominence and gave everyone flashbacks of a certain Brazilian. Since 2017, Kylian Mbappe has been one of the best players in the world with the future looking very bright for the 22-year-old.
Comparing Ronaldo Nazario and Kylian Mbappe at 22
1. Personal Statistics
The Brazilian Ronaldo had already reached the 200 career goals mark at the age of 22. His speed, fast dribbling skills, good heading skills and the signature ‘Round the Keeper’ finish meant that he was an absolute goal machine at such a young age. But his game wasn’t just limited to finishing, his extraordinary dribbling skills could open up chances for his teammates too and that’s what made him a decent playmaker as well. At the age of just 21, the Brazilian striker scored four and assisted a further three goals for his national side in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Mbappe too has proven to be an absolute guarantee for goals in his short career so far. He has already netted 163 goals in his club career while also scoring 17 international goals. During his first ever international tournament at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the youngster scored four goals including a crucial brace against Argentina and a rocket in the final against Croatia. Mbappe also became the fastest player to reach 25 Champions League beating the record of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (who was yet to open his account at that age).
2. Team Honours
Ronaldo had won two domestic cups, two supercups and one UEFA Cup playing in Netherlands, Spain and Italy by the age of 22. While his domestic accolades don’t reflect his greatness completely, his international trophies do far more justice. O Fenomeno had won two World Cups, a Copa America and a Confederations Cup before he even turned 23. Now, that’s some international cabinet for a 22-year-old.
Mbappe on the other hand has won a league title in every season of his senior career bar one which also includes four consecutive titles from 2017 to 2020. In addition, the French star has also won five domestic cups in France and two Supercups. With France, Mbappe helped end the 18-year drought for a trophy in 2018 winning the 2018 World Cup with Mbappe playing a crucial part.
3. Individual Honours
While Mbappe maybe edges it when it comes to team honours, there is no coming close to Ronaldo when it comes to personal accolades who had claimed two FIFA Player of the Year Awards, a World Cup Golden Ball, a European Golden Boot, Copa America MVP. Mbappe too doesn’t have a bad individual cabinet either winning the Golden Boy award in 2017 and finishing fourth in Ballon D’Or rankings a year later. That’s not too bad considering his period of rise had coincided with dominance of modern-day greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
While Ronaldo had already established his mark at PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona and Inter Milan by the time he turned 23, Mbappe, on the other hand is yet to test himself outside the French League as of now but that can change very quickly with his rumoured move to Real Madrid close to happening. Mbappe knows that to be considered the best, Ligue 1 isn’t the best place and he will sometime have to prove himself in some other league.
Comparing Ronaldo Nazario to Mbappe at 22- Frenchman Will Need to Keep Focus
The only thing that halted a young Ronaldo from fulfilling his enormous potential was injuries. Even after having suffered several serious injuries, Ronaldo was considered to be one of the best players in the world but it’s fair to say that masterful striker had declined massively. Mbappe would hope that he stays fit for what promises to be a long and fruitful career for him and be able to give splendid performances consistently for both club and country.
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