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rising star Gary Neville names the player ready to take over from Ronaldo and Messi as world's best

Neville believes Kylian Mbappe is ready to establish himself as the best player in the world.

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Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates his late winner against Real Madrid with Neymar

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates his late winner against Real Madrid with Neymar

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates his late winner against Real Madrid with Neymar

Gary Neville believes the era of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is coming to an end and one player is emerging from the pack to take their place as the world's elite player.

Manchester United superstar Ronaldo and and Paris Saint-Germain great Messi have enjoyed mixed fortunes this season, after more than a decade as the kings of the world game.

Now former United and England defender Neville has suggested the stage is set for PSG starnew names to battle it out for the title of best player in the world.

"We may see cameos or little swansongs here and there, but there is no doubt that Ronaldo and Messi are coming to the end of their careers," Neville told Sky Sports.

"That's not to say they are coming to the end of their careers and will retire at the end of the season; Ronaldo and Messi could play three or four more years, knowing their fitness.

"Declining seems like the wrong word when talking about two great players, but there is no doubt they are declining forces.

"At this moment in time, for the first time in years, if you asked people which player in the world they would sign if I could only pick one, no one would say Messi or Ronaldo, they would likely say Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski.

"You would be naming players other than Ronaldo and Messi, and that is the clearest sign that, while these two are still operating at the highest level, they are fading from the levels they were at before. They are no longer the best players in the world."

When pressed on who he believes will lead the way from the pack chasing Ronaldo and Messi, one name came to Neville's mind.

"In terms of excitement, in terms of thrill, in terms of speed, Mbappe is absolutely sensational," Neville said. "He reminds me of Thierry Henry, but he's also got a bit of Cristiano Ronaldo in him - he is ruthless.

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France wunderkind Kylian Mbappe with the World Cup trophy.

France wunderkind Kylian Mbappe with the World Cup trophy.

France wunderkind Kylian Mbappe with the World Cup trophy.

"He needs to win the Champions League with PSG this season, that would be the ultimate thing for him. The Champions League, and another World Cup, would be the crowning glory for Mbappe to succeed Ronaldo and Messi.

"I'm not saying he needs to win those trophies to become the best player in the world, but it cements your position if you play for the teams that win either of those trophies. For Mbappe, he knows silverware and honours go with that greatness.

"Mbappe's last-minute goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League was absolutely sensational. The great players win tournaments, they win big competitions, they are influential in big competitions. Mbappe is at that level now.

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What we mustn't underestimate with Ronaldo and Messi is their resilience; their consistency; the standards season in, season out; the number of games they have played; their toughness, mentally and physically, to withstand all the kickings they will have taken and the criticism they will have had; the pressure and scrutiny that is on them.

"Mbappe has got 10 years before he can even think that he is Ronaldo or Messi. Even if Mbappe gets to their level for one season, he will never surpass Ronaldo or Messi for at least 12 years, because he's got to do it over that length of time to be in the same conversation as them.

"To get to those levels, Mbappe is going to have to win three or four Champions Leagues, he's got to score 30 to 40 goals a season for a decade, and he's probably got to go and do it in a country other than France.

"That sounds really disrespectful to France, but I don't think his aspirations of being regarded as the greatest player of all time can be realised there. He's got to go and play somewhere else to prove he can do it in Spain, England, or Germany."

"He's got the attributes, he's got the star quality to do a 10-year run of 20, 30 goals a season. But, having said that, that is not even at the level of Ronaldo or Messi."

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