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The 20 youngest goalscorers in Champions League history: What happened to them?

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In years gone by, most aspiring footballers would have dreamt of winning the league, the FA Cup or, of course, the World Cup.

Ask modern youngsters which trophy they aspire to win, however, and many of them would say the Champions League.

Formerly known as the European Cup, before the showpiece competition was rebranded back in 1992, the Champions League is arguably the most important tournament in world football these days.

The quality of football is certainly higher in the Champions League than in any other competition - including the World Cup.

In order to be considered a truly great player in the modern era, at least one Champions League winners’ medal is essential.

Since 1992, the best players of the current and past couple of generations have all made their mark in Europe’s premier club competition.

But who are the 20 youngest goalscorers in Champions League history - and, more importantly, what happened to them?

Per FourFourTwo’s list, published in October 2018, let’s take a closer look…

20. Lionel Messi | 18 years, 132 days

Barcelona (v Panathinaikos), 2005/06

Straight in at number 20, it’s the player many football fans regard as the greatest of all time: Lionel Messi.

For those of you who have been living under a rock on Mars since 2005, the Barcelona maestro has won the Champions League four times during his illustrious career and has scored more goals in the tournament than any other player, with the exception of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona's Argentinian Leo Messi celebr

19. Raul | 18 years, 113 days

Real Madrid (v Ferencvaros), 1995/96

Another household name, Raul went on to become a Real Madrid legend, winning a host of major honours with Los Blancos.

The Spanish forward scored 323 goals in 741 appearances for Madrid and eventually retired in 2015 following spells with Schalke, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos.

Raul is currently coaching at Real Madrid’s academy and won his first title in September.

Raul

18. Per Ciljan Skjelbred | 18 years, 90 days

Rosenborg (v Olympiakos), 2005/06

You’d need to be a real Champions League mastermind to remember Per Ciljan Skjelbred, who scored on his debut in the competition for Rosenborg back in 2005.

Remarkably, this is his only Champions League goal to date. The 31-year-old, who has made 43 appearances for Norway, has plied his trade with Hertha Berlin since 2014.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-LEVERKUSEN-HERTHA-BERLIN

17. Patrick Kluivert | 18 years, 89 days

Ajax (v AEK Athens), 1994/95

Younger readers might be unaware that Justin Kluivert’s dad, Patrick, was a brilliant striker back in the day.

The Dutch forward, most famous for his six-year spell with Barcelona, retired in 2008 and has since had various roles in football including working as the Netherlands assistant manager and as Paris Saint-Germain’s director of football.

The 42-year-old is currently the assistant manager of the Cameroon national team, managed by the great Clarence Seedorf.

Dutch football team Ajax forward Patrick Kluivert

16. Mario Balotelli | 18 years, 85 days

Inter (v Anorthosis), 2008/09

Ah, Mario, what could - and perhaps should - have been.

The Italian scored his first Champions League during his spell with Inter Milan and has gone on to play for several other top European clubs including Manchester City, Liverpool and AC Milan.

However, it’s with French side Nice where one of football’s bad-boys has settled down and finally found a place to call home.

Inter Milan's forward Mario Balotelli ce

15. Nigel de Jong | 18 years 80 days

Ajax (v Arsenal), 2002/03

A player famous for his tough-tackling rather than his goalscoring prowess, Nigel de Jong got off the mark in the Champions League against Arsenal when he was just 18 years old.

The Dutchman - who somehow avoided a straight red card in the 2010 World Cup final for his infamous foul on Xabi Alonso - is still going strong at the age of 34, currently turning out for Al Ahli over in Qatar.

NLD: Arsenal v Ajax

14. Roque Santa Cruz | 18 years, 71 days

Bayern Munich (v PSV), 1999/00

One of Paraguay’s greatest ever exports, Roque Santa Cruz won the Champions League with Bayern Munich during the 2000-01 season.

He had spells with Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City before moving to Malaga in 2013.

Since 2016, the 37-year-old has plied his trade with Olimpia Asunción in his home country.

Roque Santa Cruz of Bayern Munich celebrates

13. Andriy Shevchenko | 18 years, 69 days

Dynamo Kiev (v Bayern Munich), 1994/95

At his peak, during the early 2000s, Andriy Shevchenko was arguably the best centre-forward on the planet.

He netted his first Champions League goal for Dynamo Kiev, but it was with AC Milan where he established his reputation as a world-class striker.

The Ukrainian, who called time on his illustrious playing career in 2012, went on to manage his national team before entering the world of politics.

Andrei Shevchenko

12. Kylian Mbappe | 18 years, 64 days

AS Monaco (v Manchester City), 2016/17

A player with the world at his feet, Kylian Mbappe has already achieved more during his short career than most footballers ever will.

The 19-year-old, who scored his first Champions League goal with AS Monaco but now plays for Paris Saint-Germain, helped France lift the World Cup back in the summer.

Mbappe possesses all the tools to become one of the best forwards of his generation.

Manchester City FC v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

11. Samuel Kuffour | 18 years, 61 days

Bayern Munich (v Spartak Moscow), 1994/95

One of only two defenders on this list, Samuel Kuffour scored his one and only Champions League goal while playing for Bayern Munich back in 1994.

Known by some football fans as the distraught Bayern player who thumped the turf in pure frustration after Manchester United’s famous victory in the 1999 Champions League final, the Ghanian ended his career in 2009 and hasn’t been involved in football - at any high-profile level, anyway - since.

Samuel Kuffour and Raul

10. Mariyan Ognyanov | 18 years, 59 days

Levski Sofia (v Chelsea), 2006/07

Mariyan Ognyanov’s first Champions League goal was huge for Bulgarian football; it was the first ever goal for a Bulgarian club in the competition.

It may have been a consolation goal in a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, but it still counted.

Now 30, the one-cap wonder currently plays for FC CSKA 1948 in Bulgaria’s second division.

p1cuf7lacjfnf1tmaorm6lp5bl9.jpg

9. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 18 years, 44 days

Arsenal (v Olympiakos), 2011/12

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still the youngest English player to score in the Champions League, taking the record off his then-Arsenal teammate back in 2011.

Now 25 years old, ‘the Ox’ is at Liverpool and currently recovering after suffering a serious knee injury in a Champions League match against AS Roma.

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Champions League

8. Karim Benzema | 17 years, 355 days

Lyon (v Rosenborg), 2005/06

Tipped for greatness from an early age, Karim Benzema has gone on to win the Champions League four times during his career.

The French striker, who has scored 202 goals in 434 games for Real Madrid at the time of writing, will have spent 10 years at the Bernabeu come the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Lyon's French forward Karim Benzema (L)

7. Aaron Ramsey | 17 years, 300 days

Arsenal (v Fenerbahce), 2008/09

The youngest Brit on this list, Aaron Ramsey scored his first Champions League goal for Arsenal when he was just 17 years old.

Now 27, the Wales international is expected to be playing Champions League football for another of Europe’s top clubs next season with his current contract at the Emirates Stadium set to expire next summer.

Fenerbahce v Arsenal - UEFA Champions League

6. Breel Embolo | 17 years, 263 days

Basel (v Ludogorets), 2014/15

Breel Embolo made a huge impact during his first couple of years with Basel, making his debut at the tender age of 16.

He went on to complete a €20 million move to Schalke in 2016 but suffered a serious injury shortly afterwards which has hindered his progress.

Still, at 21, the Switzerland international’s best years are ahead of him.

FBL-EUR-C1-BASEL-LUDOGORETS

5. Martin Klein | 17 years, 240 days

Sparta Prague (v Panathinaikos), 2001/02

Along with Kuffour, the only defender to feature among the Champions League’s 20 youngest goalscorers.

Martin Klein’s career since his goal for Sparta Prague hasn’t been particularly noteworthy, to be honest, but he did make one appearance for Czech Republic’s national team in 2009.

His most-recent club was Maltese outfit Birkirkara FC.

p1cuf7ora91pvr1b3sep513ti1ao0b.jpg

4. Cesc Fabregas | 17 years, 218 days

Arsenal (v Rosenborg), 2004/05

A star from a very early age, Cesc Fabregas made an immediate impact at Arsenal after leaving his boyhood club, Barcelona.

The midfielder returned to the Camp Nou in 2011 before moving to Chelsea, where he still plays today, three years later.

The closest Fabregas has come to winning the Champions League was in 2006, when Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona in Paris.

Arsenal v Rosenborg

3. Bojan Krkic | 17 years, 217 days

Barcelona (v Schalke), 2007/08

Tipped to become the next Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic was a phenomenon in Barcelona’s youth ranks, scoring more than 900 goals.

Sadly, though, he was unable to meet those lofty expectations at senior level and currently plays with Stoke City in the Championship - a scenario nobody would have thought possible back in 2007.

Barcelona's striker Bojan Krkic runs wit

2. Mateo Kovacic | 17 years, 215 days

Dinamo Zagreb (v Lyon), 2011/12

The gifted Croatian midfielder, who is currently on loan at Chelsea from Real Madrid, opened his Champions League account at an impressively young age.

Still only 24, Mateo Kovacic will hope to become a first-team regular at the Bernabeu when he returns next summer.

NK Dinamo Zagreb v HNK Cibalia - Croatian Prva HNL

1. Peter Ofori-Quaye | 17 years, 194 days

Olympiakos (v Rosenborg), 1997/98

Full marks if you already knew that Peter Ofori-Quaye is the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history.

Incredibly, the Ghana international was already scoring goals for Kalamata prior to his move to Olympiakos in 1997.

Now 38, Ofori-Quaye brought the curtain down on his playing career in 2012 following a brief spell with Bechem United FC in his home country.

Peter Oforiquaye

Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football
La Liga
Real Madrid
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Premier League

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