Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo heirs: Arsène Wenger believes Kylian Mbappé can take over in the future
- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can be succeeded by Kylian Mbappé, says Arsène Wenger
- The Arsenal icon also says the young English generation aren't too far behind
Arsène Wenger believes that Kylian Mbappé will be the player to eventually succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the pinnacle of the game upon their retirement. The Frenchman also insisted that the upcoming generation of exciting English players aren't 'far behind.'
The French star has already achieved something that neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo have achieved — winning the all-important FIFA World Cup. Mbappé won the tournament with France in 2018 and was selected as the best young player at the World Cup as well.
One constant criticism of both superstars is their lack of international achievements. Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal in their successful Euro 2016 campaign but Lionel Messi is still awaiting his international triumph. The fact that Mbappé has already achieved this allows him to focus on having a stellar club career.
Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have exerted unprecedented reigns of dominance over the sport in the 21st century. The six-time and five-time Ballon d'Or winners respectively have set the sport ablaze for over a decade now and are arguably two of the greatest footballers to have graced the game.
The end of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's era
However, the former is set to turn 33 in June and the latter turned 35 earlier this year. Football could be set to witness the end of a breathtaking era headlined by these two spectacular individuals.
Former Arsenal icon Wenger believes that PSG frontman Mbappé could be the player to succeed them at the top.
Speaking to talkSPORT, the legendary Frenchman began by saying that it's all about the next generation of footballers now. He said,
“We had never seen players like that (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo), who can absolutely be creative in any tight situation. These players are now getting towards the end [of their career] – (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi – but it’s now about the next generation.”
“The next generation is maybe French. At the moment, the leading player could be (Kylian) Mbappé, of course Neymar, that we know, but England as well.”
On England's development, Wenger added,
"England has a good chance now; they are doing very well at youth level. They have done well with Gareth Southgate at the World Cup. I was hoping that at the European Championship, they could be one of the contenders.”
England's next generation is arguably one of the most exciting group of young footballers all across the globe and many of them look up the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Also considering the experience that they have amassed, Gareth Southgate is set for several selection headaches in the UEFA European Championships in 2021.
England's ageing team was superbly revamped by Southgate in view of a younger set-up. As of now, the Three Lions have a stunning number of talented young players knocking on the manager's door ahead of the tournament in 2021.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Greenwood and many more are all players who will have their eyes set on the quadrennial tournament in 2021.
Whether or not these players will reach the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is something only time can tell us. But the future of football is certainly in good hands.