The UEFA Champions League's youngest debutants

Céléstine Babayaro was 16 years and 87 days old when he made his #UCL debut on 23 November 1994; meet the competition's ultimate wonderkids.

Céléstine Babayaro made history with Anderlecht
Céléstine Babayaro made history with Anderlecht ©Getty Images

One of the great joys of watching the UEFA Champions League is seeing fresh-faced prospects announce their talent to the world. We celebrate the youngest players to have graced Europe's top club competition.

Céléstine Babayaro (16 years and 87 days)
Anderlecht 1-1 Steaua, 23 November 1994

The Nigerian left-back became the youngest player in UEFA Champions League history when he started for Anderlecht against Steaua in the 1994/95 group stage. His ground-breaking debut set more than one record, however, Babayaro becoming the competition's youngest player to be sent off 37 minutes later. He joined Chelsea in 1997, winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.

Alen Halilović during his spell at Hamburg
Alen Halilović during his spell at Hamburg©Getty Images

Alen Halilović (16 years and 128 days)
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain, 24 October 2012

Dinamo Zagreb were well on their way to a home defeat by Paris when the waif-like Halilović trotted on for the last five minutes of added time. Billed as the most exciting Croatian talent since Luka Modrić, the son of former Dinamo player Sead Halilović had become the youngest scorer in Prva Liga history a fortnight earlier. Still awaiting his breakthrough, the 22-year-old joined AC Milan this summer.

Youri Tielemans (16 years and 148 days)
Anderlecht 0-3 Olympiacos, 2 October 2013

Tielemans first came on to Anderlecht's radar as a five-year-old, and the midfielder made rapid progress through the ranks before playing all 90 minutes of the Belgian side's home loss to Olympiacos on his UEFA Champions League debut. He captained the club before his 20th birthday and switched to Monaco in 2017, helping Belgium reach the FIFA World Cup semi-finals this summer.

Charis Mavrias in action against Rubin
Charis Mavrias in action against Rubin©Getty Images

Charis Mavrias (16 years and 242 days)
Panathinaikos 0-0 Rubin Kazan, 20 October 2010

Panathinaikos turned to Mavrias as they sought a winner with 12 minutes remaining of their group stage meeting with Rubin in 2010. The midfielder did not make a dream debut but later became the club's youngest ever European scorer and their youngest scorer in a derby game against Olympiacos. Still only 24, Mavrias signed for Scottish side Hibernian from Rijeka earlier this month.

Kenneth Zohore (16 years and 263 days)
Barcelona 2-0 København, 20 October 2010

A distant relative of Didier Drogba, Zohore made his UEFA Champions League debut on the same day as Mavrias – in the illustrious setting of the Camp Nou. The forward left København for Fiorentina in 2012 but spent much of his stint out on loan, only finding stability since he signed for Cardiff City in 2016. His nine Championship goals last term helped the Welsh outfit seal their return to the Premier League.

Peter Ofori-Quaye scored a landmark goal for Olympiacos
Peter Ofori-Quaye scored a landmark goal for Olympiacos©Getty Images

Youngest scorer: Peter Ofori-Quaye (17 years and 195 days)
Rosenborg 5-1 Olympiacos, 1 October 1997

Nine minutes after his introduction, the Ghanaian forward struck Olympiacos's consolation in a heavy defeat by Rosenborg in the 1997/98 group stage. His goals during his first seasons in Piraeus drew plenty of international attention, but a knee injury eventually wrecked his progress, and he ended his career in his native Ghana in 2012.

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