Child prodigies: The youngest footballers to debut as professionals

Child prodigies: The youngest footballers to debut as professionals
Babangida, one of the pearls of Barcelona at the end of the 90 (The Athletic)

Last update October 19, 2020 by Javier Argudo

The world of soccer is full of child prodigies. today we will review the youngest footballers who debuted as professionals in some of the big leagues on the planet. Some stayed on the road, others triumphed and became great stars. They all debuted in professional football before they turned 16 years.


Record Mauricio Baldivieso it will hardly be surpassed by anyone. The Bolivian player debuted as a child of 12 years in the ranks of the Aurora. His father, Julio César Baldivieso, he was the team coach and in charge of giving him the opportunity. Happened the 19 July 2009.

younger footballer
Baldivieso holds the FIFA record after debuting as a professional with 12 year old (FootTop10)


Tiger stayed very close to the absolute record. Radamel Falcao debuted with 13 years and 112 days in the Lanceros Boyacá, Colombian Primera B club. Since then, a successful career well known.

Radamel Falcao
Falcao, to the right of the image, in a practice with Lanceros Boyacá (Colombia)


The younger footballer to debut in the American League. Freddy Adu premiered with just 14 years old in the ranks of DC United. From there began a series of experiences in Europe (Benfica, Monaco, Os Belenenses…) until I returned to the United States again.

Youngest footballers to debut
Freddy Adu |, one of the youngest footballers to make his professional debut (Sports Ilustrated)


The Mexican / Argentine footballer will never forget the 24 June 2020. That day, became the youngest footballer to debut in the Spanish Primera División. He did it with the Mallorca against him Real Madrid with 15 years.

Luka Romero
Luka Romero, a footballer with an impressive future (20minutes)


Celta's defender was the youngest footballer to debut in the Spanish First Division until it was surpassed by Luka Romero. He did it in the season 1939-1940 with 15 years and 8 months of age. From there he had a more or less successful career in teams like Real Sporting, Real Oviedo, Celta Vigo, Leonesa y Xerez Cultural.

Youngest footballers to debut
Samson holds the record for the youngest footballer to debut in the Spanish League (I played in Celta)


Paganelli made his Ligue debut 1 French in the ranks of Saint Ettiene. I had only 15 years, 10 months and 5 five days when it happened. He had to withdraw before 30 because of a serious injury. He played for teams like Toulon, Grenoble and Olympique Avignonnais.

younger footballers
Laurent Paganelli is the youngest footballer to debut in the French league (Sofoot)


How to forget Haruna Babangida? It was our great signing in the mythical PC Football as, because of his youth, got to get a very good average over the seasons. He debuted as a professional in the Second Division in the Barça subsidiary with 15 years. He even participated in some preseason with the first team culé although he did not debut in an official match. He played on loan with teams such as Cádiz or Terrassa before becoming a globetrotter playing in Greece., Cyprus, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Malta.

Haruna Babangida in her debut for Barça B with just 15 years (The Athletic)


Another young talent who debuted very soon. The Norwegian began his professional career in the Stromsgodset ranks with 15 years. Real Madrid took his transfer and transferred it to several teams such as Vitesse or Real Sociedad before giving him a chance in the first team merengue.

Martin Odegaard
Odegaard celebrates a goal with the Norwegian Stromsgodset (The country)


Another crack that sneaks into this list of younger footballers on becoming professionals. Kun Agüero debuted with 15 years in the ranks of Independiente in Argentina. Three years later he made the leap to Europe to sign for Atlético de Madrid.

Kun Agüero Independent
The Kun with the shirt of Independiente (the Intransigente)


15 Diego Armando Maradona was old when he had the opportunity to make his debut in the Argentine league. It was with the jacket of Argentinos Juniors. The rest of the story is well known to all, possibly, the best footballer of all time.

Maradona Argentinos Juniors
Maradona in a match with Argentinos Juniors (


We couldn't close this article from younger footballers to debut in professional football without mentioning Pelé. The Brazilian also premiered with 15 years at Santos and it's, also, the youngest player to debut and also win a World Cup. It was in Sweden 1958 at the age of 17.

Youngest footballers to debut
Pelé debuted with Santos as a child (Santos FC)

As you can see, some became great soccer figures, others, instead, they stayed at the gates and perhaps it did not benefit them to reach the elite so soon.

Javier Argudo

PC Football changed my life.

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