Lamine Yamal: Next Youngest UEFA Champions League Scorer?

Photo of Lamine Yamal the youngest goal scorer in La Liga history.

This season is no different, as players like Lamine Yamal of Barcelona, George Ilenikhena of Antwerp, and Warren Zaire-Emery of Paris Saint-Germain shine for their respective teams. Unlike his counterparts, Lamine Yamal has yet to score in the UCL and recently celebrated his 18th birthday. Despite being the top-tier club competition in European football, the UEFA Champions League consistently highlights an abundance of young talent.

However, Yamine Lamal joins a lineage of young stars who have left their mark on the continental stage before reaching 18. While notable figures such as Peter Ofori-Quaye (1997) and Martin Klein (2002) may not be included in this specific list, each name mentioned is likely to evoke memories from various moments in history.

Jamal Musiala, aged 17 years and 363 days, just made it onto the list during Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win against SS Lazio in 2021. The Germany international, who had previously played for England at youth level and Chelsea, scored in that match. Now, at 21 years old, it has been three years since he left his mark on the history of the Champions League.

At just 17 years and 300 days old, Aaron Ramsey made a significant mark for Arsenal during their 5-2 triumph against Fenerbahce in 2008. This milestone, now more than 15 years ago, cemented Ramsey’s position in UEFA Champions League history. However, despite this achievement, the Welsh player wasn’t the youngest-ever scorer for Arsenal, with Cesc Fabregas earning that title 83 days prior.

At the age of 17 years and 289 days, Jude Bellingham marked one of the initial milestones in his soccer career during the 2021 game between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. Despite Bellingham’s early goal, Borussia Dortmund suffered a 2-1 loss to Pep Guardiola’s side. Currently, the English player is demonstrating his skills on the Champions League platform while representing Real Madrid.

Warren Zaire-Emery, at the age of 17 years and 280 days, emerged as a burgeoning talent during the 2023 match between Dortmund and PSG. While Kylian Mbappe remains a prominent figure in French football, PSG fans are equally captivated, if not more so, by the young midfield prospect of Zaire-Emery.

Despite recently turning 18, the midfielder, who is already a France international, scored his inaugural UEFA Champions League goal in the group stage, securing a pivotal 1-1 draw away at Dortmund and propelling PSG into the round of 16.

Although Zaire-Emery briefly held the record as PSG’s youngest-ever Champions League scorer, his feat was overshadowed by George Ilenikhena from Antwerp, who scored a late goal against Barcelona, rewriting history just over 30 minutes later.

Breel Embolo, at 17 years and 263 days old, left a notable mark during the 2014-15 season with Basel. His initial European conquests were against Ludogorets of Bulgaria. Now aged 27 and currently playing for AS Monaco after spells with Schalke 04 and Borussia Monchengladbach, the Swiss international, originally from Cameroon, was merely a teenager during those early days.

Bojan Krkic made a significant impact at the age of 17 years and 217 days during the 2008 match between Schalke 04 and Barcelona. While very few have managed to match, let alone surpass, Lionel Messi’s accomplishments during his breakthrough with Barcelona, there was a fleeting moment when it seemed that Bojan Krkic might possess a similarly remarkable talent.

His solitary goal in Barcelona’s 1-0 victory over Schalke 04 in 2008, achieved at just 17 years and 217 days old, suggested that the once-promising Spanish international was destined for greatness.

However, despite this early promise, Bojan retired at the age of 32 after spells with AS Roma, Stoke City, CF Montreal, and Vissel Kobe. His record as the youngest scorer in that particular match ultimately became one of the significant highlights of his career, despite originally being viewed as just the beginning of his journey.

At just 17 years and 217 days old, Cesc Fabregas displayed his exceptional skills during Arsenal’s 5-1 triumph over Rosenborg in 2004. Hailing from La Masia, Fabregas emerged as a standout talent for Arsenal, swiftly becoming an integral part of the starting lineup despite his youth.

His first goal in the Champions League, accomplished at the same age as Bojan, represented a crucial milestone in his journey. Although he later assumed the captaincy at Arsenal and returned to Camp Nou, Fabregas was unable to clinch a UEFA Champions League title with any of his clubs.

Mateo Kovacic, at just 17 years and 215 days old, showcased his talent during Dinamo Zagreb’s 1-7 loss to Lyon in 2011. Now, still below 30 and a member of the European champions Manchester City, Kovacic first garnered recognition while playing for Dinamo Zagreb. Despite the significant defeat at that time, the Croatia international, born in Austria, has gone on to win the Champions League four times, clinching three titles with Real Madrid and one with Chelsea.

Antonio Nusa, aged only 17 years and 149 days, made history as one of the youngest goal scorers in Champions League history during Club Brugge’s 4-0 win against Porto in 2022. Despite not securing a transfer to the Premier League in the recent winter transfer window, the achievement of the Norwegian international is remarkable. Although his goal didn’t set any records, his high ranking on the list at such a tender age is certainly impressive.

George Ilenikhena, at the age of 17 years and 119 days, left his mark during Antwerp’s 3-2 victory over Barcelona in 2023. While Barcelona often dominates such records, they have also conceded goals from some of the brightest young talents in the sport. This was exemplified earlier in the tournament when Ilenikhena, aged just 17 years and 119 days, scored a late winning goal.

Not only did this accomplishment secure him the second spot on the list, but it also established a French record, occurring just 30 minutes after Zaire-Emery appeared to have achieved the same feat for PSG in their match against Dortmund.

It’s noteworthy to emphasize three goals that not only took place in the Champions League but were also scored during the knockout phase, adding to their significance. Krkic (17 years and 217 days) found the net for Barcelona in their 1-0 win against Schalke in 2008. Bellingham (17 years and 289 days) scored for Dortmund in their 1-2 loss to City in 2021. Musiala (17 years and 363 days) contributed a goal for Bayern in their 4-1 victory over Lazio in 2021.

Is Lamine Yamal, at a mere 16 years and 243 days old, poised to surpass Fati’s remarkable record? This emerging talent from Barcelona is gearing up for the Blaugrana’s round of 16 second leg against Napoli. Despite not yet turning 17 until July, this gifted winger has already secured several accolades.

Notably, Lamine Yamal became the youngest goal scorer in La Liga history at 16 years and 45 days, netting against Granada. Additionally, Lamine Yamal has debuted for Spain and surpassed Gavi’s record. A goal in this season’s Champions League would mark yet another milestone, arriving just five years after the previous record, which took over two decades to break.


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