Few could argue that Cristiano Ronaldo holds a place among football’s very greatest players.
The 36-year-old has won titles in England, Spain and Italy, led his country to glory at Euro 2016, and collected five Ballon d’Or awards.
However, despite all of his success, his era will always be defined by comparisons with Barcelona icon Lionel Messi, especially when Ronaldo was plying his trade at archrivals Real Madrid.
The two have been at the top of their game for over a decade, winning trophies, collecting awards and leading their respective nations at international tournaments.
With the two greats well into their 30s, punters have been on the lookout for ‘the next Messi’ or ‘the next Ronaldo’ for years.
While some showed promise and faded away, such as Bojan Krkic, others were downright mislabelled, such as Marko Marin.
Now, to save us all the trouble, Ronaldo has appointed his successors himself.
Speaking at his unveiling as LiveScore's Official Global Brand Ambassador, Ronaldo said: “It is hard to choose just one player to say this one will be the best, but I think it is exciting to see this new generation of young players, like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé, who are coming through.
“Some players can have one or two great seasons, the really great players are the ones that keep doing it season after season, and that is not so easy to do.
“It takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of commitment.”
Kylian Mbappe can already call himself a World Cup winner, a title that both Messi and Ronaldo have tried and failed to achieve.
The 22-year-old’s trophy cabinet is already overflowing, winning four back-to-back Ligue 1 titles with Monaco and PSG, as well four domestic cups.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is the most sought-after player in the world after 18 goal-laden months in the Bundesliga.
Several of Europe’s biggest clubs are said to be chasing the 20-year-old Norwegian’s signature, including Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
If either of Mbappe or Haaland are as good as Ronaldo, then whoever they ultimately sign for could dominate European football in the coming years.
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