Harry Kane and Lionel Messi: 6 footballers before they were famous

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During Chelsea's recent Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, a familiar picture started doing the rounds.

It claimed to be of David Luiz and Thiago Silva as kids, arm-in-arm just as they were as they vanquished Jose Mourinho's side, on the front of a car.

At face value it seemed to be the read deal; the similarity between the young Silva and the Brazil captain in the present day was particularly striking. Sadly it wasn't real - although there are now two kids in Brazil who have been given PSG shirts of their doppelgangers so it's not all bad news.

What the storm in a teacup did prove however is that football fans are desperate to know more about their heroes before they were in the public eye. Were they always lithe athletes destined to make it to the top? Did they always have the potential within them to be a superstar? Or were they a little chubby Harry Kane-type fella who frankly looked more likely to end up in KFC than THFC?

Well, we're here to help indulge your inner nosy neighbour with some of the best (and by that we mean funniest) pictures of sports stars when they were little. Enjoy.

Harry Kane, Tottenham striker

We may as well start with the main man himself and Tottenham fans may well be questioning their chant: "Harry Kane, he's one of our own" after seeing this picture.

The striker is currently in the form of his life and has scored 19 goals in the Premier League, making him joint top-scorer alongside Chelsea's Diego Costa. He wasn't always destined for the top it seems though; after being pictured in an Arsenal shirt while celebrating their title success in 2004 he was let go by the club.

"I wanted to wear a Tottenham kit but I don't think that would've gone down to well," Kane said. "I was eight-years-old. I was at Arsenal for a year and obviously I was a kid, I just wanted to play football.

He was picked up by Tottenham, his boyhood club, at 11, and the rest is history. He even scored the winner against Arsenal earlier this season.

Jack Wilshere, Arsenal midfielder

Staying in north London, we move on to another player the fans can call one of their own, Jack Wilshere.

The china-ankled midfield sprite was a chubby-faced youngster if the picture he posted on his own Instagram page about a month ago is anything to go by. Born into a family of West Ham fans, he would go on to represent the Gunners from 2008, having joined the club from Luton aged nine.

The 23-year-old has been heralded as England's next big thing for some time now but a series of injuries have held him back - however he's still got plenty of time to fulfil his potential.

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool midfielder

No points on offer for guessing who this little chap in a Liverpool kit is - that's right, it's Steven Gerrard.

The Reds legend will call time on his career at Anfield at the end of the season having made his debut back in 1998, and he's pretty much seen and done it all. Gerrard inspired Liverpool's greatest moment in the modern era by dragging the Reds back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the Champions League final in 2005.

He came within inches of claiming the one trophy that's escaped him - the Premier League title - last season, and it looks like his time on Merseyside won't end on a fitting note after he was sent off against Manchester United over the weekend, meaning he'll miss three of Liverpool's last eight games.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona forward

Perhaps the greatest player of all time, Lionel Messi is one of the world's most recognisable sports stars. The Barcelona forward is a four-time world player of the year, has won the Champions League three times and breaks goal-scoring record for fun on a regular basis.

It's well known that he was a little on the small side as a kid and that Barcelona had to help the undersized youngster become the best in the world. "When I was 11 years old they discovered that I had a growth hormone deficiency and I had to start a treatment to help me to grow," he said.  

"Every night I had to stick a needle into my legs, night after night after night, every day of the week, and this over a period of three years. I was so small, they said that when I went onto the pitch, or when I went to school, I was always the smallest of all. It was like this until I finished the treatment and I then started to grow properly”.

Luckily for us, his size hasn't stopped him from rising to the very top of the game. 

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United forward

Rooney is well on his way to becoming England's all-time leading goalscorer, and even from a young age he seemed destined to make it to the very top.

Here he is, pictured as a 10-year-old with a ball in hand and just six years later he was making his full-team debut for Everton, and before he was 17 he became the Premier League's youngest goalscorer while also breaking Arsenal's 30-game winning run with a stunning strike back in 2002.

He would go on to join Manchester United where he's become the Red Devils' main man, helping them to Champions League glory in 2008 and also five Premier League titles.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid forward

This is Cristiano Ronaldo aged just as a little wee chap; who would have thought that he'd become not only become one of the best footballers in the world but also the incredible physical specimen he is now.

The Portuguese superstar cut his teeth with Sporting Lisbon before joining Manchester United, where he would excel before becoming the most expensive player in the history of the game in 2009. 

Ronaldo is the reigning world player of the year and helped Real Madrid claim a record 10th European title last season - now aged 30 a return to Old Trafford has been mooted. No doubt that Manchester United fans would dearly love to see him return home.

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Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
Wayne Rooney
Tottenham Hotspur

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