The most expensive XI of all time for players 18 and under

Over the years, players have shot onto the scenes from an early age and catapulted themselves into the limelight in double-quick time.

From Michael Owen’s antics against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, to Brazilian Ronaldo bagging 30 goals for PSV Eindhoven in his first season back in 1994.

There are only a select group that can build up a sizeable transfer value in such a short time.

GiveMeSport has used Transfer Markt to collate the most expensive XI for players 18 and under, with each player having the highest market value for their position at that particular time.

Some inclusions are quite obvious but others are likely to baffle even the most open-minded football fan.

Here is our eleven:

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan (£35 million)

In goal we have arguably the most promising young keeper in recent memory.

Donnarumma – who is still only 19 – has managed 150 appearances for AC Milan as well as 11 caps for Italy before his 20th birthday. Simply staggering!

At 6 ft 5, age truly is just a number as he already has the physical attributes to command a box and collect comfortably from corners and crosses.

He is already the youngest goalkeeper to ever feature for Italy and the second-youngest to feature in Serie A, and with time on his side expect the records to keep rolling.

RB: Anthony Vanden Borre – Anderlecht (£6 million)

A very surprising inclusion at right back in the form of Belgian star Anthony Vanden Borre.

Vanden Borre broke into the Anderlecht side at aged 16, being part of a talented youth system at the club which also featured Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

Vanden Borre eventually made the jump to Italy for Fiorentina, but after making just two appearances his career soon faded.

He appeared for Genoa, Genk, returned to Anderlecht and more recently turned out for Montpellier and Congolese side TP Manzembe before retiring aged just 29.

His claim to fame in England was being the guy that Chris Kamara missed getting sent off while on loan at Portsmouth in a game against Blackburn.

Career summed up.

CB: Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax (£35 million)

The first defender to win the Golden Boy award, Matthijs de Ligt has wowed audiences at Ajax with his unbelievably mature performances.

The centre-back has proven a goal threat as well, bagging nine goals so far for his boyhood club.

In March 2018, de Ligt became the youngest ever captain of Ajax at the age of 18, his transfer value is actually far higher after his Golden Boy win and being rewarded with the Ajax armband.

But his current value of £56.6 million cannot be included due to the fact he is now 19, however his previous value is still enough to get him in the eleven.

CB: Breno – Sao Paolo (£10.4 million)

A Brazilian leader at the age of 18, Breno impressed so much for Sao Paolo that German giants Bayern Munich came calling.

After just 29 games for the Brazilian side, Bayern forked out £10.4 million (his release clause) in 2008 to snap up the young centre-back.

In hindsight, it seems that a team the size of Bayern was a step too far for the youngster and after just 21 appearances in four years, he returned to Sao Paolo.

Now 29, Breno turns out for Vasco da Gama in what has been a career that promised so much but delivered very little.

LB: Luke Shaw – Manchester United (£30 million)

Shaw seems to be finally at a stage in his career where he is injury free and playing football regularly. 

The left-back has suffered from a plethora of injuries since his breakthrough for Southampton as a 16-year-old, and despite still having age on his side – being only 23 – the England international could have already achieved so much more.

Shaw managed two full seasons at Southampton playing regular football and his consistency on the left-hand side of Saints’ defence led to Manchester United splashing out £30 million for his services.

Five years later and Shaw is still at the club and still the most expensive left-back ever, whether he has a career that backs the sizable fee up still remains to be seen.

RM/RW: Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund (£70 million)

The boy that seemingly came out of nowhere. Jadon Sancho made the very rare yet very brave move from England to Germany in search for first-team football after being made clear of his squad status at Manchester City.

The 18-year-old has taken the Bundesliga by storm, scoring seven goals and making nine assists so far this season, making him a fundamental part of Dortmund’s front line – no wonder he is valued so high.

Sancho has also managed to earn three caps for England and will most definitely be a regular to the right of Harry Kane sooner rather than later.

Sancho’s move also started a trend for English youngsters moving to Germany with Reiss Nelson moving from Arsenal to Hoffenheim and Callum Hudson-Odoi being heavily linked with Bayern Munich.

CM: Renato Sanches – Bayern Munich (£26 million)

Remember his performances for Swansea? Well if you do the last thing you’d expect is for Renato Sanches to feature in this list.

But once upon a time, the 21-year-old was considered to be in the upper echelon of talented youngsters – his value back in 2015 of £26 million backed that claim up.

Carlos Carvalhal – ex-Swansea boss – said that Renato Sanches had talent but stopped learning when he moved to a top club, it is certainly a valid point.

Sanches looked out of sorts in Wales and since coming back to Bayern has featured 18 times, scored once and provided little else to talk about.

He does still have time to turn it around though.

CM: Phil Foden – Manchester City (£17.5 million)

Another Englishman that fans have their eye on with the future in mind.

Phil Foden has semi-broken into the Manchester City team this season, which considering the squad depth that Pep Guardiola has is a feat in itself.

After watching various youth players leave the club, Foden has remained patient and is now reaping the rewards – bagging five goals in 20 appearances.

It’s a pretty safe bet that his £17.5 million value would not be enough to tempt City to sell him, with Guardiola admitting he is a big part of his future plans.

If this is the case, expect Foden to feature for England along with Sancho very soon.

LM/LW: Rodrygo – Santos (£35 million)

A player that many may not be aware of, but just you wait.

Our youngest current player in the list with his birth year being 2001, Rodrygo played a staggering 58 games in the year of 2018, pushing his 17-year-old body to the limit.

The Brazilian shone through though scoring 12 goals as well as winning the Best Newcomer award in the Brazilian Serie A.

The youngster has featured for his country up to under 20 level and when he eventually moves to Real Madrid – he will join the club in June 2019 – he will get his opportunity to test his wits against the creme de la creme.

Due to his humble beginnings at Santos and moving to a top Spanish club, associations and direct comparisons to Neymar are inevitable.

ST: Wayne Rooney – Manchester United (£32 million)

Despite the transfer between Everton and Manchester United taking place 15 years ago, Wayne Rooney still makes the eleven as one of the two most expensive strikers.

Even the most casual of football fans will remember when Rooney burst onto the scene with that goal against Arsenal as a youthful Everton player.

“Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!”

How could we forget?

The Englishman signed for the Red Devils for £32 million and went on to become the clubs all-time record goalscorer before his eventual departure in 2017.

Rooney bagged an unprecedented 253 goals for the club, and then went on to break England’s goal-scoring record, netting 53 times for the Three Lions.

Now at DC United, Rooney has proven he still has that killer instinct, but at 33 is deservedly winding down after doing what many couldn’t and that is living up to his potential.

ST: Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain (£78 million)

Here he is, the most expensive player on the list.

Kylian Mbappe has simply set the footballing world alight since the start of the 2016/17 season with AS Monaco, when a scarily confident 17-year-old walked into the team and scored 26 goals in his first full season.

Since then, Mbappe has moved on to French giants Paris Saint-Germain for a whopping fee of £126 million plus add ons.

This made him the most expensive teenager ever.

Mbappe played a pivotal role in France’s World Cup success last year, scoring in the final and winning the Best Young Player award for the tournament.

Due to Mbappe only being on loan at PSG as an 18-year-old and signing permanently at 19, we can only go by his value the year prior.

But either way he holds the most value by a long way, and after having over a decade of football dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it looks like we’ve found their successor.

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