Messi vs Mbappé: Who has scored more goals in World Cup games?

Argentina vs France. It’s being billed as Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappé for a reason (even though that, of course, is far, far, far too simplistic). It’s club teammate vs club teammate, national team talisman vs national team talisman, multiple Ballon d’Or winner against Ballon d’Or pretender. To tee things up even more nicely, the pair are locked on five goals at the top of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Golden Boot chart.

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But how much have those five goals apiece contributed to Messi and Mbappe’s overall World Cup goal hauls?

How many World Cup goals has Lionel Messi scored?

35-year-old Messi is playing in his fifth tournament and has featured in 25 World Cup games; if he plays in the final – which you’d imagine he would – he’ll break German Lothar Matthäus’ all-time record of appearances. Mbappé, meanwhile is just 23 (he’ll turn 24 on Tuesday) and is going for a second World Cup trophy in two appearances. You’d expect Messi to be well ahead, right?

Lionel Scaloni on Lionel Messi: “If it’s Leo’s last match with Argentina, we hope we can win the cup. There isn’t a better scenario than a World Cup final to enjoy it.”

— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) December 17, 2022

In those five tournaments and 25 matches, the Argentinian has found the net 11 times. This World Cup has been by far his most productive in front of goal, with almost half of all his strikes coming in Qatar. The former Barcelona playmaker scored once in 2006, four times in 2014, once in 2018 and failed to find the net in 2010.

Messi’s adventures in 2022 have led to him beating Diego Maradona’s record of World Cup goals and appearances and then taking the all-time Argentina World Cup goalscoring record away from Gabriel Batistuta. In addition, he had never scored a single goal in the knockout rounds until a couple of weeks ago, now he has three.

How many goals has Kylian Mbappé scored?

Impressive as that all sounds, Mbappé is on course to blow Messi’s numbers out of the water. The Frenchman netted four times on the way to winning the World Cup in 2018, including twice against Argentina in the round of 16 and once in the final. The former Monaco youngster has already gone one better this time around, although heads into Sunday’s game on a mammoth two-game goal drought.

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Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé’s World Cup goalscoring records, thanks to our friends at Sofascore

Not to be outdone by his club teammate, Mbappé has also broken a long-standing record of his own; he has now scored the most World Cup goals before the age of 24, beating Pelé’s record, which dated back to 1962. With plenty of time on his side, it seems to be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he breaks Miroslav Klose’s all-time tally of 16 World Cup goals.

Messi become the 14th player to reach double figures for goals in the tournament when he scored a penalty in Argentina’s quarter-final victory over the Netherlands and Mbappé needs just one more to join the club. But the reality is that it’s Messi, playing in his last tournament, who wants to join a club that Mbappé is already a fully-paid up member of: the World Cup winners’ club.

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