Barcelona legend Xavi has named the two players who he thinks will be able to take over from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of their era.
Whether we want to like it or not, an era is coming to an end and soon there will no longer be just two men dominating an individual trophy. However, while the world of football will most certainly miss Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it will move on to the next era and former Barcelona star and Camp Nou legend Xavi Hernandez believes he knows exactly who they are.
The 38-year-old who played nearly 17 seasons/years at Barcelona winning eight La Liga titles, six Spanish Super Cups, four Champions League trophies, three Spanish Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups, 2 UEFA Supercups and of course a World Cup with Spain, certainly knows his players. Not just that, he played together with Lionel Messi for ten odd years and spent six in the same league as Ronaldo, so the Spaniard is definitely someone who has an eye out for their future replacements.
However, the players he has picked however will come of no surprise to anyone, as Xavi went on to say in an interview, “I have a huge respect for him [Neymar]. He’s a fantastic footballer, when Messi and Cristiano lower their level, he will win the next Golden Ball. When Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire, the debate about the best in the world will be between Neymar and Mbappe.”
Both the Brazilian and the Frenchman play for PSG, and Kylian Mbappe has just hit the world stage after a rather sensational season with Monaco. The 18-year-old was instrumental in helping Monaco win the Ligue 1 title pipping PSG to the title and even went on to score 26 goals in just 44 games in all competitions.
Neymar da Silva: "Mbappé is doing very well. He is a great player and has all the qualities to be big in football. I wish him all the best and I will help him as much as I can. I hope I can do the same thing to him like Messi did to me. " ?⚽️ pic.twitter.com/5FCLeezyzR
— Neymar Jr. (@Neymarvellous) February 7, 2018
But while this season sees him on loan at PSG and no longer the main striker, Mbappe has still somehow managed to score 15 goals and record a further 14 assists in all competitions. And feeding off his assists is wing-partner Neymar, who has also been in sensational form for the Parisians.
Despite taking over the summer transfer window in a multi-million dollar deal and all the drama that comes with it, the 26-year-old has been in fine form. Scoring 27 goals and producing a further 16 assists in just 26 games, shows just how good Neymar has become and also shows his potential for future.
While Xavi is most certainly right, the Spaniard has seemed to have forgotten the likes of Eden Hazard, Ousmane Dembele, Marco Asensio, Gabriel Jesus, Jadon Sancho, and so many others, all who could fight for the Ballon d’Or. But as of right now, both Messi and Ronaldo still flourish and have a long way to go before they hang up their boots.