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Youngest debutants in Europe’s top five leagues

Francesco Camarda made history at the weekend after becoming the youngest debutant in Serie A history.

The 15-year-old came off the bench as a second-half substitute in AC Milan’s 1-0 win over Fiorentina, having been called up to the senior side amid the club’s current injury crisis.

Camarda has scored more than 400 goals for the Rossoneri at youth level and has been backed for a big future in the game, though the forward is not able to sign his first professional contract until his 16th birthday in March.

Following Camarda’s record-breaking debut, we’ve remembered the youngest debutants in each of Europe’s big five leagues.

Bundesliga – Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund) – 16 years and one day

Bundesliga players are not able to make their first-team debut until the age of 16, with Borussia Dortmund wasting no time in handing Youssoufa Moukoko his senior bow.

Moukoko was arguably the worst-kept secret in European football having scored 141 goals in just 88 games for Dortmund’s under-17 and under-19 sides, before making his Bundesliga debut a day after his 16th birthday against Hertha Berlin in 2020.

Within a month he had become the youngest Champions League debutant, at that time, and the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history after scoring his first goal for Dortmund against Union Berlin.

Now 19, the forward has since scored 13 goals in 76 games for Dortmund in all competitions and has twice been capped for Germany at senior level.

Serie A – Francesco Camarda (AC Milan) – 15 years, 8 months and 15 days. 

AC Milan received special dispensation from the Italian FA to call Camarda into their senior squad, as the Rossoneri sought to combat injury issues with the promotion of the academy talent.

Camarda has compiled a prolific record for the youth sides at Milan and has scored seven goals in 13 games this season. He also has a record of 13 goals in 21 games for Italy at various age groups.

The 15-year-old has replaced Paolo Maldini as Milan’s youngest ever player and beats the Serie A record, previously held by Wisdom Amey, by 14 days.

La Liga – Luka Romero (Mallorca) – 15 years, 7 months, 6 day

Luka Romero was handed a baptism of fire when making his debut for Mallorca, as the 15-year-old was introduced as a substitute against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

His debut in 2020 saw Romero become the youngest debutant in one of Europe’s top five leagues for 60 years, but he made just eight further appearances for the Spanish side before signing for Lazio.

Having failed to earn opportunities at the Stadio Olimpico, Romero signed for AC Milan on a free transfer in 2023.

Premier League – Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal) – 15 years, 5 months, 28 days

Ethan Nwaneri became the first 15-year-old to feature in the Premier League after making his debut for Arsenal against Brentford in September 2022.

The midfielder came on as a late substitute against the Bees, breaking Harvey Elliott’s record as the youngest debutant in the division’s history. Nwaneri failed to touch the ball in his three minutes on the pitch, but his debut was an indication of the faith Mikel Arteta holds in the academy graduate.

Ligue 1 – Lucien Roux (Saint-Étienne) – 15 years and 29 days

Lucien Roux holds the record as the youngest debutant in one of Europe’s top five leagues, having made his first appearance for Saint-Etienne aged just 15 years and 29 days.

Roux’s record-breaking debut came way back before the Second World War, as the forward made his bow in a 1-0 defeat to FC Metz on February 26, 1939.

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