By Tom White and Pete Fabianski, PA
Kylian Mbappe continued to make Champions League history with his brace against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The Paris St Germain forward, already the youngest player to reach 25 goals in the competition, has now passed Lionel Messi to become the outright leader for goals before turning 23.
Erling Haaland was kept at bay by Manchester City on Tuesday but the Borussia Dortmund star also boasts a formidable record at his young age and here, the PA news agency compares the duo to their illustrious predecessors.
Young duo setting new standards
Messi scored 25 Champions League goals before his 23rd birthday out of his 120 to date as he trails only Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time rankings.
He was 22 years and 286 days old when he became the fastest player to that mark, a record since broken by Mbappe who was 206 days younger when he struck against Barcelona last month.
Mbappe advanced to 27 on Wednesday and will not turn 23 until nearly Christmas, giving him the remainder of the current campaign and next season’s group stage to add to that tally.
Whatever his eventual record, it may come under threat from Haaland who has 20 goals already and will not even turn 21 until July – already breaking Mbappe’s record of 19 by that age.
The Norwegian scored those first 20 in a remarkable 14 games, sparked by a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Salzburg in 2019.
Dortmund may be a step below the continent’s elite but with a summer exit widely forecast for Haaland, any potential suitors will be among the clubs challenging for the top honour and give him ample chances to swell his record.
Can the pair challenge the all-time records?
It is very early days but both Mbappe and Haaland are undeniably on the right track.
Ronaldo, who has a record 134 Champions League goals to his name, did not score at all before his 21st birthday and took 27 games to break his duck in the competition proper.
Messi took five games to get off the mark and 23 to reach double figures – as many games as Haaland (eight) and Mbappe (15) combined.
The Barcelona star accelerated to 20 from 40 games, a figure matched by Mbappe even as Haaland began demolishing the record as the quickest to reach that mark.
Ronaldo and Messi are the only players in three figures for Champions League goals, with Robert Lewandowski a distant third on 73. The Poland striker has reached that mark in 96 games, scoring 17 in 28 for Dortmund and 56 in 68 for his current club Bayern Munich.
Mbappe’s goals-per-game record is short of Lewandowski’s, but his youth and standing in the game – plus the likely eventual approval of an expansion in the competition format – should offer increased opportunities, while Haaland is on better than a goal-a-game pace in his still-nascent Champions League career.
Raul, Karim Benzema, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry are the other players over 50, with few others ahead of Mbappe and Haaland in the race to join them.
Lewandowski’s Bayern team-mate Thomas Muller is three away, one behind AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic who could still return to the competition next season.
Sergio Aguero’s next move after Manchester City will dictate his chances of adding significantly to his 41 Champions League goals, though Mbappe’s team-mate Neymar looks sure to advance from the same mark.
After them, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is just one goal ahead of Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann (25), Angel Di Maria (22), Alvaro Morata and Raheem Sterling (both 21) are the only other active players ahead of Haaland.