With Barcelona's teenage sensation Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest starter in Champions League history, let's look back at the five youngest players to start a Champions League match.
Lamine Yamal (Barcelona, 16 years and 83 days)
On October 4, La Masia graduate and teen sensation Lamine Yamal became the youngest starter in Champions League history when he took the field against Porto in the group stages. It was only two weeks prior he became the second youngest player to play in a Champions League match when Barcelona beat Antwerp 5-nil.
Xavi is already trying to pat down the Messi comparisons since those usually fail to come to fruition. “The kid is playing at an amazing level at age 16. But let's see what the future will bring rather than comparing him with Messi. Any footballer who's been compared to Messi didn't do so well in the end.”
Celestine Babayaro (Anderlecht, 16 years and 86 days)
The Nigerian left-back made his Champions League debut for Anderlecht against Steaua Bucharest in November 1994. Babayaro was one of the youngest to play in the competition and the youngest to receive a red card which he received 37 minutes into the match against Romanian side Steaua.
Babyaro held the record for the youngest-ever player to start in the Champions League for thirty years before Lamine Yamal broke it. Babayaro later became the first Nigerian player to suit up for Chelsea.
Céléstine Babayaro (16 anos e 86 dias)— MariFut (@MariFut23) October 4, 2023
O lateral-esquerdo nigeriano se tornou o mais jovem da história da Champions League na edição 1994/95, pelo Anderlecht.
Porém, ele detém também o recorde de mais jovem jogador expulso, 37 minutos em sua estreia contra o Steaua. pic.twitter.com/LswRK5UPT8
Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht, 16 years 148 days)
Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans was once a prodigy, starting for Anderlecht against Olympiacos in his Champions League 2013 debut.
Before moving on to Aston Villa for the 2023/24 season, he helped power Leicester to FA Cup glory.
Ansu Fati (Barcelona, 16 years 321 days)
Ansu Fati received his first start during the 2019-20 Champions League when Barcelona took on Dortmund in Group F. Fati is still Barcelona's youngest player to score in the Champions League. At 17, he rifled one past Inter Milan to help secure a 2-1 for Barcelona.
Fati is currently on loan to Brighton, trying to revive his young career under talent talisman Roberto de Zerbi.
Anthony Vanden Borre (16 years 326 days)
Belgian right-back Anthony Vanden Borre was once a wonderkid, getting his first Champions League start for Anderlecht in 2004. That's where he once paired up well with legendary defender Vincent Kompany. Ironically, Vanden Borre was touted as the better player.
Despite showing early signs of brilliance, consistency eluded him, leading to a series of moves across different clubs and leagues.