The Paris Saint-Germain duo have been key players for their national teams and their goals have been crucial in helping them reach the final. However, how do they measure up against each other so far? How does a young upstart who has already won a World Cup compare to a seven-time Ballon d’Or-clinching veteran?
Messi has played more minutes, with Argentina going into extra time and penalties in the quarter-final against the Netherlands, so his minutes-per-goal ratio is slightly higher than Mbappe’s, but so is his xG (4.75 to 3.46).
Mbappe, meanwhile, has laid on two goals at the tournament, setting Olivier Giroud up against Australia and then again against Poland.
At a glance, the stats would suggest that Messi has had a better World Cup than Mbappe, if only marginally.
While the pair have scored the same number of goals at the tournament, Messi boasts more assists, has had more shots, a higher xG, he has created more chances and has more successful passes into the opposition half.
It is also notable that Mbappe has only scored once in the knockout stage, failing to find the net in the quarter-final or semi-final, while Messi has scored in the last 16, quarter-final and semi-final, demonstrating the leadership that is expected of him as national team captain.
That said, Mbappe has looked incredibly dangerous for France in the knockout stage, despite not scoring as much as he would have liked. Indeed, his dribbling stats at the tournament are frightening and it’s been clear that not even the best defenders in the world are completely comfortable against him.
Of course, the stats will be irrelevant when the stars collide on Sunday and, ultimately, whoever gets their hands on the trophy will be able to definitively say they had the better tournament.