The beautiful game is not anymore about skills, goals, team plays, and passing. Football has become incredibly athletic, and teams are more organized than before. With the changing course of football and the eventually the Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi era coming to an end, the GOAT of football debate is also set to take a new turn.
In this article, we will discuss the major changes in the physical aspects of modern (current) football. Here, you will get an idea of the changes in the gameplay and the factors that determine a great footballer. Apart from that, we will also discuss the major GOAT contenders in world football at the moment. Hence, to get fully informed about the subject read on through to the end of the article.
Evolution Of The Modern Football: What Are The Changes?
With the major changes in world football, it can be easily determined that the game is more physical and faster. To keep up with incredibly fast forwards, football teams also require defenders to be faster.
The following are the major changes that we can see in the gameplay of football nowadays:
- The game is more physical now. Not just defenders, even the forwards are now physically stronger and more muscular.
- Both in passing play and counterattacks, the gameplay is faster and hence has become more exciting. Not just the forwards and midfielders, but even defenders are expected to have a good pace to keep up with forwards, who dribble through speed.
- With modern-day training programs and modern-day technology, players have a better idea of tactical gameplay and understanding of the opponent.
- With better training facilities, balls, boots, and equipment, it has become easier for players to focus on the game and not get overwhelmed by any shortcomings of the equipment.
- The gap between the top-tier players and the rest is getting shortened day by day as the game becomes more competitive. Even a lower-level team has the chance to win against a top team if everything goes well.
The GOAT Debate: Who Will Be The Next GOAT Of Football?
With the aging of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the Ronaldo vs. Messi era is eventually coming to an end. And the debate is slowly turning towards two other top forwards at the current moment, namely Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. However, there are other players on the list as well, who are also future GOAT contenders.
Here are some of the major players who have the ability to become GOAT of football in the next decade:
1. Kylian Mbappe
At a young age, Kylian Mbappe became one of the key performers in the FIFA World Cup 2018, where he led France to victory in the Finals. Even from his AS Monaco days, he was considered an extremely talented footballer with a great future. He transformed his game more after signing for PSG.
With great skills, dribbling ability, pace, shooting, and finishing, Mbappe is arguably the GOAT of football in the recent future. His World Cup Final 2022 hattrick against Argentina just added a record to his tally.
2. Erling Haaland
With clever off-the-ball movement, speed, physicality, and scoring ability, Erling Haaland, the 22-year-old Norwegian, has turned many eyes. After signing for Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund, he scored 42 goals in 37 appearances, which easily made him one of the top GOAT contenders in the future. Due to his body strength, he is well able to control the ball and shove off defenders.
Apart from that, he is also expected to play a decisive role in the progress of his national team. Expect him to win some of the major individual accolades in the recent future.
3. Vinicius Junior
Considered a long-time replacement in the left flank in Real Madrid after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, Vinicius Jr. did not disappoint at all. With good acceleration, pace, balance, ball control, agility, dribbling skills, and flair, Vinicius Junior can easily be cited as one of the major GOAT of football contenders in the future.
However, his goals scoring ability and shooting still need improvement for him to be compared with the top two on this list. Furthermore, his future with both club and country seems promising.
Although not an out-and-out forward, Pedri plays in an attacking midfield role, which makes him occupy space in the central areas of the pitch. Apart from that, he is also able to move in wide areas to create better chances for the forward line.
Known for his technical skills, vision, passing ability, and good work rate on the pitch, Pedri has a very good future with both FC Barcelona and Spain. His stamina, as well as his dribbling skills, make him one of the major attacking midfielders. Many even consider him to be a future GOAT.
5. Phil Foden
Foden is now in the first team of Manchester City and is one of the key players on his team. He is mostly overshadowed by star players like Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva. He plays mostly in the left wing.
However, in recent years, Pep Guardiola has played him as an attacking midfielder or a false-9. Blessed with skills, pace, and shooting power, Phil Foden can easily take up the GOAT position in the next few years.
Although with great potential, Phil Foden still needs to up his game and be more consistent to become one of the top-tier players for a long time.
From the data and information in this article, we can understand that although the rules of football have remained more or less the same, the game has become more physical, skillful, and athletic at the same time.
This is where the future GOAT debate starts. Both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are two of the top contenders for becoming the next GOAT of football. Both of them have the ability to score goals and get past defenders with great speed, and both of them are physically strong, which makes them nightmares for defenders.
Apart from that, contenders also include Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Pedri, and others.