After 17 years around the question of who is better - Messi or Ronaldo, world football has designated heirs: Killian Ambape and Arling Holland • "There are rivals here for the next ten years"
Has already lifted the World Cup
"There is something to look forward to"
Sport needs rivalries.
This sounds like a basic thing in a field based on competitiveness, but history has shown that beyond rivalries between teams and teams, there is a fundamental need for personal rivalry.
In a direct battle between two athletes, two characters - it is better to be completely different both sportingly and personally - who will live in parallel, compete in parallel and give the game two edges that will allow everyone to hold one of them.
Larry Byrd and Magic Johnson have done it in basketball, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the two of them in tennis, and in world football for 17 years plus or minus the biggest rivalry is that between Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine and the Portuguese are a great example.
One left, the other right, one extroverted, the other introverted, one an athletics monster while the other is an aesthetics monster.
The difference between them is so great that for 17 years there has been a discussion about the best identity of the two, and the obvious answer is - he is, of course.
In recent days, world football has been grappling with a new question.
Killian Ambape or Arling Holland?
Who is better?
Who will go further?
Who would you choose for your group if you had one?
That question comes after the first game of the Champions League quarter-finals where the two took matters to their feet and moved Messi and Ronaldo from the front of the stage.
The Frenchman scored a hat-trick against Barça, the Norwegian paired up against Sevilla, both brought down a Spanish team on their knees and in return received the title of heirs.
It's not that one is Messi and the other Ronaldo, absolutely not, Ambape and Holland have been crowned heirs of the rival.
The representatives of the new age
The representatives of the new age
are, in the opinion of many, the two who have to carry football in the coming years to new heights and new peaks, to be the best and most different, to produce a debate that will create debate and that God forbid it will not produce an overwhelming answer.
Ambape and Holland have an important role to play from now on.
Just as Messi and Ronaldo represented the kind of football that characterized the period and just as Byrd and Magic redefined basketball, so too should the Norwegian and French be the senior representatives of football in the new era.
And right now, they definitely look like a mutation that has evolved to huge proportions - a combination of speed and athleticism, explosive and physical strength, and at the same time ball control, precision in front of goal, softness, elegance, everything.
And just as they are similar, so they are different.
Here too there is left versus right, French with African roots versus Norwegian with a Viking look, 16 inches difference, different style and a different position on the pitch.
In addition, Ambape has already put the World Cup in his closet alongside many titles from French football, while the Netherlands has waved such only in Austria.
This combination of parallel lines and those that meet is exactly what creates a personal sporting rivalry.
"For a long time we asked ourselves what after Messi and Ronaldo," said Rio Ferdinand;
"And I think they're the answer. There's a rivalry here for the next ten years."
Gary Lineker added: "They's the proof that there is something to look forward to," and Joe Cole concluded: "We haven't seen anything like this since Messi and Ronaldo started, and the scary thing is that they're just going to get better."
So true, Messi and Ronaldo still lead the conquerors' tables in Italy and Spain, and they are still here, but the feeling is that when they leave there will be no depressing void.
Ambape and Holland brushed shoes and sanded corks to inherit together the critical role as rivals.
Maybe they will end up in the same team, maybe against each other in the same league, but the hope is that in 15 years - when there is a discussion about who was the bigger of the two - the answer will be clear: he, of course.