New Wine

By Ebunoluwa Akinokuolie, Francis David and Emmanuel Godwin

Ajax young bloods celebrating their 2019 victory against Juventus 

In the last decade, many young stars have risen in the world of sports. Serena Williams in tennis, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo in football are just an insignificant number compared to the young stars and fresh bloods that have ruled the global sports arena in the last ten years.

Ronaldo and Messi both shared the highly coveted Ballon D’or title amongst themselves, with the streak only broken twice by Luka Modric and Robert Lewandoski, two other younger players. Its commonplace to expect the duo of Messi or Ronaldo to take home the title each year.

However, many years before this present generation, there has always been great icons in the world of Sports. One calls to mind the likes of the Brazilian Pele and the Argentine Diego Maradona who both led their countries to win the FIFA world cup. Pele set a record of winning 3 world cup titles in addition to being the youngest ever player to score in a world cup. 

L-R: Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi; two football giants

With each generation coming and passing away in the world of sports, it is evident that very soon we would begin to see a new set of young stars arise and step in the shoes of their predecessors with folks like Naomi Osaka of Japan (23), Erling Haaland of Norway (20), Kylian Mbappe of France (21) and many others leading the talk on how the dominance of the former generation is drawing to an end.

Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slam titles while competing with tennis legends on the court. Erling Haaland wowed the world as he scored 9 goals in a single match against Honduras, in the U-20 World Cup 2 years ago. Kylian Mbappe came through in 2016, when he helped his former club (Monaco FC) to halt the reign of Paris Saint Germain as the Ligue 1 champion, and also scoring a brace against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and subsequently knocking them out of the UEFA Champions League.

Naomi Osaka

Worthy of note is the fact that the likes of Rafael Federer, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo set out to be trailblazers for these young stars. Kylian Mbappe has even confessed that Christiano Ronaldo was his childhood idol.

Competing against these legends has also made the younger generation crave for more success. An unforgettable moment from the 2018 world cup was Kylian Mbappe stealing the show in the FIFA World cup round of 16 against Lionel Messi's Argentina and scoring a brace. He also went on to become the second teenager to score in a world cup final since Pele in 1958, winning the World Cup trophy. The star of the competition, Mbappe ran riot and scored a hat trick at the Camp Nou stadium in a champions league round of 16 tie against Barcelona, becoming the third ever player to score a Champions League hat trick against Barcelona after Faustino Asprilla and Andriy Shevchenko.

Mbappe scoring his hat trick at the Camp Nou stadium in 2018

The reign of dominance of the sports arena by a few top athletes is gradually coming to an end, Juventus with Christiano Ronaldo as were knocked out of the 2018/19 champions league quarterfinals by a young and vibrant Ajax side.

Naomi Osaka shocked the whole world when she humbled Serena Williams by winning 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-final of the Australia Open thus gaining the number 2 spot of the Women's Tennis Association's ranking.

Sport fans and observers all over the world wait to see if these young stars would take up the mantles of the 'old' world best athletes and further go on to become mightier forces to reckon with in the world of sport, with the current generation of players drawing near the end of their field careers.






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