Who are the youngest players in Champions League history?

Comments (0)
Getty Images
GOAL takes a look at some of the youngest players to have debuted in the UEFA Champions League.

The UEFA Champions League has seen some of the best players make history on the biggest stage in European club football throughout it's history. From Lionel Messi's magical performances to Cristiano Ronaldo's smashing of goal-scoring records, Champions League has had all the key ingredients to serve the perfect delicacy to football fans.

The competition has served as one of the biggest platforms for footballers to showcase their talents when the world is watching. But the constant battle of European rivals has also served as an opportunity to many young footballers to display their class in front of the million fans glued to their television.

Youssoufa Moukoko became the youngest UCL debutant back in 2020 when he featured for Borussia Dortmund, smashing a long-standing record set by Celestine Babayaro. GOAL takes a look at some of the youngest names to have featured for their side in the competition.

  1. Youssoufa Moukoko | Borussia Dortmund | 16 years 18 days
    Getty Images

    Youssoufa Moukoko | Borussia Dortmund | 16 years 18 days

    German international Youssoufa Moukoko has turned out to be one of the biggest prodigies coming out of Dortmund's side. The Black and Yellows are known for finding diamonds at a young age and Moukoko is another one coming from the German heavyweights.

    Moukoko made his UEFA Champions League debut from the bench against Hertha Berlin just a day after turning 16 on 21st November. But the forward was given his first opportunity in the starting eleven a few weeks later when he was in Dortmund's lineup against Zenit on 8th December 2020.

    As the whistle blew, Moukoko became the youngest debutant for a side in the UCL history taking away a 26-year-old record. Borussia Dortmund won the game and Moukoko has since established himself as a key starter in the side.

  2. Celestine Babayaro | Anderlecht | 16 years 86 days
    Getty Images

    Celestine Babayaro | Anderlecht | 16 years 86 days

    The previous record-holder for the youngest debutant in Champions League history, Celestine Babayaro started for Belgian side Anderlecht against Steaua in the 1994/95 season.

    At 16 years and 86 days, the raw talent was seen as a shining star for the future and he justified his expectations later on his career. The left-back made the switch to Chelsea in 1997 where he won two crucial silverwares including UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the FA Cup.

    Although the Nigerian's dream of having an iconic debut were shattered after he was given the marching orders in the first-half, Babayaro had already etched his name in the history books.

  3. Rayan Cherki | Lyon | 16 years and 102 days

    Rayan Cherki | Lyon | 16 years and 102 days

    Another young prodigy looking to make his mark on the biggest stage in club football, Rayan Cherki rose up the ranks from Lyon B to Lyon's first team. The French international is considered one of the finest footballers to step foot on the pitch with his jaw-dropping control and thunderous strikes.

    After performing magnificently for the French club in the UEFA Youth League, Cherki was introduced to the world in the UEFA Champions League against Zenit as he came on a substitute midway through the second-half of the game.

    One month after his Ligue 1 debut, Cherki had been handed an opportunity to showcase his talent in Europe's pinnacle club competition and despite Lyon losing the game, the youngster had showcased what was about to come in the future. Now just aged 20, Cherki is being eyed by some of Europe's biggest sides after becoming an influential cog in Lyon's forward battery.

  4. Alen Halilovic | Dinamo Zagreb | 16 years and 128 days
    Getty Images

    Alen Halilovic | Dinamo Zagreb | 16 years and 128 days

    Back in 2012, Dinamo Zagreb locked horns with a star studded Paris Saint-Germain side at the Stadion Maksimir in a fiesty Group A clash. Despite the Croatian side failing to produce an upset in the game, they did leave the fixture with a massive positive.

    A 16-year-old Alen Halilovic was introduced by Dinamo's manager in the last knockings of the game. Despite the Croatian not getting ample game time in the fixture, the player did go on to become one of Dinamo's most crucial players.

    Considered the heir to Luka Modric's throne, Halilovic has already smashed records domestically after being the youngest scorer in Prva Liga history.

  5. Youri Tielemans | Anderlecht | 16 years and 148 days
    Getty Images

    Youri Tielemans | Anderlecht | 16 years and 148 days

    Belgian international Youri Tielemans was first spotted by Anderlecht at the mere age of five. And since being scouted, the midfielder has not looked back rising through his career to become an important figure for his clubs and country.

    Tielemans made his UEFA Champions League debut at the age of 16 years when he was slotted in Anderlecht's starting eleven against Olympiacos in their 3-0 loss. The Belgian switched ships to Monaco before signing for English side Leicester City where he set new records.

    Tielemans was a key player in the Foxes' engine room as he guided them to the FA Cup at Wembley and has also become a constant starter for his national side.