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Messi, Ronaldo World Cup exits signal changing of the guard

Update: July, 01/2018 - 11:00
Kylian Mbappe (2nd L) of France celebrates scoring during the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16 match between France and Argentina in Kazan, Russia, June 30, 2018. Xinhua/Li Ming
Viet Nam News

MOSCOW — Step aside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo... there is a new group of kids on the block ready to seize the limelight and form the next generation of global megastars.

French teenager Kylian Mbappe announced himself in dramatic fashion on Saturday, overshadowing Messi as France beat Argentina 4-3 in the World Cup last 16.

That took his goal tally for the tournament to three -- two behind England talisman Harry Kane and one behind Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku.

While Messi and Ronaldo have set goal records tumbling both in Europe and Spain, amazingly neither has ever been able to find the net in a World Cup knockout match in a combined 14 games.

Mbappe leads the charge

With the exits of the pair, both five-time world players of the year, confirmed on the same day, the stage is clear for a handful of young, hungry pretenders to seize the spotlight.

Leading the charge is the 19-year-old Mbappe, who achieved a feat no player had accomplished in 60 years, becoming the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup match since a 17-year-old Pele in 1958.

"I’m very happy, and it’s flattering to be compared to a great player like Pele," said Mbappe, born a few months after France won the 1998 World Cup.

"But he’s in another category. Still, it’s great to join the list of players that have achieved such feats."

The Paris Saint-Germain striker, who as a child had posters of Ronaldo plastered across his bedroom wall, has three goals in three starts in Russia. — AFP


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