CR7, Mbappe… The 5 legends of football and their heirs

Replacing old heroes with new ones is a phenomenon that occurs in all disciplines, all over the world.

Even the best players will one day turn pale and can no longer perform their usual gigs. They will have to leave their thrones and make way for the next generation of stars.

The generation that spawned the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi seems to have entered its final chapter.

There is a young generation of hungry players that have already settled on the big stage and are waiting to take the reins.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at five football legends and their heirs.

#5 Gianluigi Buffon – Gianluigi Donnarumma

This one is quite simple. Gianluigi Buffon is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. The 44-year-old has yet to finish his professional career and currently plays in Serie B with his youth club Parma.

The legendary Italian won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and also won seven Serie A titles. Buffon’s successor in the Italian squad is Gianluigi Donnarumma, who led Italy to victory at Euro 2020 last year.

He was named ‘Most Player of the Tournament’ after winning matches in the semi-finals and finals of the competition. Donnarumma is only 23 years old and has already established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

#4 Andres Iniesta – Pedri

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander

Barcelona has hosted some of the greatest technicians of all time. Andres Iniesta and Xavi are two of the best midfielders the world has ever seen. The duo won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships with Spain.

They were also part of the Barcelona squad that won the treble in the 2008-09 season. Iniesta is a joy to watch on a football pitch and he continues to work wonders for Japanese club Vissel Kobe at the age of 38.

He can navigate dead ends with the grace of a gazelle, making passes unimaginable for most of his peers. Barcelona has surprisingly found a youngster who seems to be cut from the same cloth as Iniesta and Xavi.

Pedri, who joined the Catalans from Las Palmas in 2020, has been an absolute revelation over the past two years.

He won the title of ‘Best Young Player of the Tournament’ at Euro 2020 after playing a starring role in Spain’s journey to the semi-finals of the competition.

The 19-year-old navigates tight spaces with ease and has vision that belies his age. He also has a passing range that suits world-class playmakers. Pedri is still a teenager and is considered the heir of Iniesta.

#3 Neymar Jr. – Vinicius Jr.

Brazil v Chile - Qualification for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

Stylistically and otherwise, this transition makes perfect sense. Neymar Jr. is a player who embodies the ‘samba’ style of football that has become popular by Brazilians. His skill and technical mastery gave us many magical moments on the football field.

After his enormously talented compatriot, Vinicius Jr. the Real Madrid winger, who is going to have a great season in Europe. Vinicius was one of the best players for Real Madrid, which won La Liga and the Champions League.

Like Neymar, Vinicius has a whole range of tricks up his sleeve and loves to outflank and beat defenders. He has improved a lot in the past year and is definitely the next big thing in Brazilian football.

In 52 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid in the 2021-22 season, Vinicius scored 22 goals and provided 20 assists.

#2 Lionel Messi – Phil Foden

Manchester City - Aston Villa - Premier League

It will take a great player to come close to what Lionel Messi has achieved during his illustrious football career. The seven-time Ballon d’Or is second to none, but Manchester City’s Phil Foden is stylistically the most likely person to be seen as his heir.

Foden is a left-handed striker who can also play in midfield. He is one of the most technically gifted footballers in the world and one of the best players in Manchester City’s academy.

The 22-year-old has been named ‘PFA Young Player of the Year’ for the second consecutive year this season, thanks to his performance for City. In 45 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side in the 2021-22 season, Foden has scored 14 goals and provided 11 assists.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo – Kylian Mbappe

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe (credit: Goal.com)

Kylian Mbappe grew up worshiping Cristiano Ronaldo. The latter is one of the greatest footballers of all time and, given the pace of business, Mbappe is on track to achieve that same status.

Ronaldo is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner who has made scoring and winning a breeze for his team.

Mbappe is arguably the best striker in football today. His mind-boggling speed, cunning and prolific goals make him as intimidating and dominant as the best Ronaldo.

Mbappe has already won the FIFA World Cup with France. In the 2021-2022 season, the 23-year-old scored 39 goals and provided 26 assists. These are the sort of numbers Messi and Ronaldo put forth in their peak years and Mbappe is truly the crown prince of football right now.

To advertise

Leave a Comment