The Ronaldo vs Messi argument has been flogged to death. These two extraterrestrials are getting on in years and frankly, it is time to enjoy them while we still have them. However, Sterling vs Mbappe… now that’s a whole different animal.
Everyone is obsessed with comparison. It seems to be the easiest way our human minds comprehend things. This comparison goes up two notches when it comes to sports, especially football.
Whether its players, coaches, teams or even leagues, it has to be dissected and compared. There’s access to so much statistics these days, so we like to put them side by side and analyse them.
Stats aren’t necessarily everything especially in a team sport like football, but that’s another day’s topic.
At CrossAndNod, we like to make sure that we always give you the best content. We are the ingredients to make your football stew tastier than ever before.
No more Ronaldo vs Messi? We’ve got two superstars bursting to replace them. One of them is a World Cup winner, something our GOATs have never managed.
Raheem Sterling and Kylian Mbappe are two stars any team in the world would love to have in their squad. Their style of play is somewhat similar, which makes this a valid comparison.
Mbappe is a naturally talented beast of a player. Sterling has the talents too but he has been nurtured to greatness by the tactical nous of Guardiola. Check out this article on Klopp vs Guardiola. We are sure you’ll love it too.
Using various arguments, we’ll compare these superstars. We’ll look from both perspectives and try to be as objective as possible for both players. With our argument, we will let you decide who you think is the better option for your team.
The New Ronaldo vs Messi: Sterling vs Mbappe
There’s one thing the Ronaldo vs Messi argument never lacked. It was goals. Messi scored 91 goals in one calendar year while Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer the UCL has ever seen.
It’s only right that we start this off with goals. Lots of goals.
Sterling vs Mbappe: Goal Scoring
Goals: the most important metric used to judge any attacking player. In the old days, strikers were the only players tasked with scoring goals. However, the decline of the number 10 role has meant that goals have to come from everywhere.
Like Ronaldo, Sterling is classified as an attacking midfielder/winger by Fantasy Premier League (FPL). He is a player that has significantly improved in front of goal in recent years.
From his time at Liverpool, many knew he had potential with his blistering pace and dribbling ability. He was one part of the ‘SSS’ trio of Suarez, Sturridge, and Sterling in Liverpool’s title-challenging 2013/2014 season.
While he had the talents, goal scoring was always his kryptonite. That was something never mentioned in the Ronaldo vs Messi arguments. Those guys were beasts.
He moved to Manchester City in 2015 and the arrival of Pep Guardiola at the club in 2016 has massively impacted his game. He scores a lot more goals now, making him a serious threat to opposition defences. His elevated goal-scoring level has catapulted him into any discussions about the best attacking players in the League. He is now even a favourite for FPL players.
Since Pep’s arrival, he has finished with double digits in goals and assists in each of the last three seasons. He played a crucial role in City winning all the trophies in England last term. His return of 47 goals and assists for club and country in all competitions last season was his personal best.
Why don’t we move to the other half of the Sterling vs Mbappe argument?
Since making his debut in 2015, the world knew Mbappe was special. He was a goal scorer, a showman, and had the world at his feet. Many compared him to Thierry Henry.
His breakout season came in the 2016/2017 season alongside Radamel Falcao and a very talented Monaco team. They shocked PSG and clinched the Ligue 1 title.
He finished with 26 goals in all competitions that season including putting up a memorable performance against Man City in an epic 6-6 aggregate UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
PSG acquired his services the following season, making him a part of the expensive players XI. Since then, he has shown maturity beyond his years in front of goal playing alongside Edinson Cavani and Neymar Jr.
While Europe was aware of his goal-scoring prowess, the world would soon take notice as he was a standout performer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He scored four goals in the competition, leading his team to the title. His performances at the World Cup earned him the FIFA Young Player Award.
He took his super-stardom to another level in the 2018/2019 season finishing with 58 goals and assists for club and country. He was in contention for the European Golden Boot but was piped to it by Lionel Messi.
Leagues They Play in
In the Sterling vs Mbappe argument, Sterling takes the battle of the leagues. We never had this issue with Ronaldo vs Messi. Those two played in the same league. Sterling and Mbappe, over to you.
Many agree that the English Premier League is the most competitive league in Europe with some of the best teams in Europe coming from England. This is the league Sterling plies his trade in weekly.
Although he plays for Manchester City, one of the best teams in England, he has managed to make himself indispensable in the starting line-up. He finished last season with 17 goals and 10 assists from 34 appearances.
The quality of the opposition in England is epic! Up to six teams are vying for the title every season. But Sterling’s quality shines through and he’s usually a big performer against the tougher oppositions of the league.
In his last two seasons, he has finished with double digits goals and assists, leading Manchester City to back-to-back EPL titles.
While Ligue 1 ranks as a top 5 league in Europe, it is easily classified as the weakest of those five. Some call it the “Farmer’s League.”
Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Monaco are in no way close to PSG at all! We can’t blame Mbappe for the lack of quality in the league. The fact that he is listed on the FIFPro World XI team means that he is doing something extraordinary regardless of the league he’s playing in.
Top-quality players would always shine irrespective of the league and that is precisely what Mbappe is doing. He has won the League title in each of the last three seasons with Monaco and PSG.
The League title win with Monaco was impressive as they conquered PSG before joining them the following season. He has gone on to wreak havoc on opposition defences ever since and is one of the best players in Ligue 1 and Europe.
The quality of opposition might not be as good in the French League, but Mbappe has beaten the teams in front of him and become one of the best at what he does.
He had 33 league goals for PSG last season. Phenom!
Importance to Team/Team Impact
Manchester City is stocked with attacking talents! However, Sterling has managed to make himself indispensable in that team. He led all attacking players at the club with 51 appearances in all competitions in the 2018/2019 season.
This is impressive given that City has at least three top quality players playing the same position as he is. What’s even more impressive is that City had six players score ten goals or more in all competitions in the 2018/19 season.
With a staggering five finishing with double digits in goals and assists including Sterling. The fact that Sterling remains a stand-out performer in this team is a testament to his ability.
This is not to undermine Mbappe’s importance to his team as a part of the Sterling vs Mbappe comparison.
Mbappe, alongside Neymar Jr. and Cavani, has formed one of the most frightening attacking line-ups in Europe. The versatility of Mbappe in attack means he can play on any flank in the formation.
It doesn’t matter the coach or the formation. This man will play and he will deliver. See why we say coaches may no longer be as important as advertised?
In the absence of Neymar and Cavani in many games last season, Mbappe stepped up. He led his team immensely, finishing with an eye-watering 39 goals and 17 assists in all competitions from 43 appearances. These are Ronaldo and Messi kind of numbers!
Sterling vs Mbappe: Trophies Won
Sterling had a barren spell at Liverpool in terms of cups. Asides the close title challenge in the 2013/2014 season, he couldn’t win any trophy for the club.
However, his time at Man City has been trophy-laden – he has won the EPL and EFL titles on multiple occasions. In his career so far, he has won a total of 7 trophies.
Mbappe has won League titles, domestic cup titles and all. All that doesn’t compare to the most prestigious trophy of all. The one cup to rule them all – the World Cup.
Ronaldo vs Messi? They would probably trade in 2 or 3 UCL titles to lay their hands on this trophy.
Sterling vs Mbappe: Individual Awards
In the Ronaldo vs Messi beef, we could always use Ballon D’Or wins as a point of reference.
Over the last 2 years, Sterling has established himself as one of the best attacking midfielders/wingers in Europe. He has also won many individual awards along the way.
Sterling won the prestigious Golden Boy award as an upcoming talent in 2014 with Liverpool. Other players to have won the award include Isco, Paul Pogba, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and most recently Matthijs de Ligt.
Other individual honours include:
- Liverpool Young Player of the Season: 2013-14, 2014-15
- Premier League Player of the Month: August 2016, November 2018
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2018-19
- PFA Team of the Year: 2018-19
- PFA Young Player of the Year: 2018-19
- FWA Footballer of the Year: 2018-19
In his relatively short career, Mbappe has racked up individual awards and is easily one of the best players in Europe despite his age.
Like Sterling, he is also a winner of the Golden Boy award which he took home in 2017. Other individual awards include:
- Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year: 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19
- Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19
- Player of the Month: April 2017, March 2018, August 2018, February 2019
- UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: 2016-17
- FIFA FIFPro World11: 2018, 2019
- The FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award: 2018
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2018
- Kopa Trophy: 2018
- French Player of the Year: 2018
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2018
- Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2018-19
- Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer: 2018-19
They are not quite at the Ronaldo vs Messi level yet. But Sterling vs Mbappe is definitely one for the future.
There’s no doubt both of these players are two of the most exciting players in Europe right now. Their similar playing styles is one of the reasons conversations have started happening on who the better of the two is.
There are many factors to consider when comparing players. The quality of the player themselves, the teams they play in, the oppositions they face and so on.
Many would choose Mbappe based on stats and his meteoric rise. Others prefer Sterling because he plays in a more difficult league where he performs well against quality opponents. Whatever the case may be, these two players are currently world-class players.
So who would you rather have in your team? Sterling or Mbappe? Let us know in the comments section below.