Old footage of the world's top footballers before they got famous

  • Kat Lucas
Lionel Messi (D) del seleccionado de Arg

Making it as an international at youth level isn't always an indicator that footballers will go on to achieve greatness in their careers. 

Take a look at the U20 World Cup. England won it in 2017 and just a couple of years on, only Fikayo Tomori is playing for a top six Premier League club. 

Just in case, however, FIFA TV never wipe those vaults and footage from old youth tournaments can make for fascinating viewing. 

Back in 2013, FIFA had a dig into the archives and released two videos from old U20 and U17 World Cups respectively. 

The oldest clips come from the 1970s, a chance to watch Diego Maradona when he was still establishing himself with Argentina and was yet to become a global phenomenon. 

More recently, we see the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, Fernando Torres, Ronaldinho and Iker Casillas as teenagers.

There's something quite odd about the sight of Carlos Tevez as a fresh-faced youngster, too. 

Or how about Diego Forlan, Kaka, Lionel Messi and Roberto Carlos? 

First, a warning: Prepare to feel very, very old. 

If you've watched the whole way through, you'll notice in some cases that we've used the term 'legends' with a little poetic license, for those who were wondering what Oscar, Ayew, and Jozy Altidore are doing gracing our screens alongside some of the greatest of all time. 

Messi always looked a special player even in his very first games, but winning six Ballons d'Or was just unthinkable. The Argentine would go on to redefine what was possible, just as Maradona did in his own era. 

It also begs the question of which current youngsters will become future legends in the coming years. Kylian Mbappe has never even played at U20 level for France because he was already winning senior World Cups by then. 

Either way, the videos are dripping with nostalgia and nobody could have predicted watching back in the 90s and early 00s the heights some of these starlets would scale.

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