The 2022/23 Champions League opening night was brilliant, just as we expected. But it also hit differently.
Goals soared across the continent as Chelsea suffered a shock defeat to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, Celtic hosted European champions Realm Madrid with a bang, while Jude Bellingham set another record .
But it’s what happened in Sevilla and Paris that really turned heads with Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe looking sensational.
Haaland continued his outstanding start to life at Manchester City with a brace in their 4-0 win over Sevilla in La Liga.
Mbappe got his own brace, scoring twice in the second half as Paris Saint-Germain secured a 2-1 win at home to Juventus.
The pair have already had their pulse racing, but with Haaland aged 22 and Mbappe 23, there is still a long way to go.
Both players have achieved some hugely impressive feats with Mbappe’s brace seeing him score nine goals in six appearances for PSG this season.
Mbappe is also the youngest player to reach 35 Champions League goals at 23 years and 260 days, beating former record holder Lionel Messi, who was 23 years and 307 days old.
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In total, Mbappe has 55 goals in the competition (35 goals, 20 assists), which is great considering he’s only made 54 appearances.
Stunning stats on Haaland also emerged, who scored and assisted in every Premier League and Champions League game he played in for City.
He also became the first player in the competition’s history to score 25 goals in his first 20 appearances.
With Cristiano Ronaldo not even in the Champions League this season, while Lionel Messi cut a largely anonymous figure to Mbappe and Neymar, the night’s action could well spell a changing of the guard at the top of football.
However, the fact that Ronaldo hasn’t scored a goal in his first 20 Champions League appearances, unlike Haaland who already has 25, suggests that the Messi vs Ronaldo era may even be overshadowed…
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