Barcelona prodigy Ansu Fati continued his meteoric rise by becoming the youngest ever goalscorer in Champions League history, netting the winner in his sides 2-1 win against Inter Milan in the San Siro tonight.
Here are the five youngest goal scorers in Champions League history…
Cesc Fabregas – 17 years, 218 days
Plucked from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Cesc Fabregas was promised an easier route to first-team football at Arsenal and the midfielder did not have to wait long for his opportunity under Arsene Wenger.
Handed his debut as a 16-year-old, Fabregas was slowly integrated into the first-team at Highbury and set a whole host of records including becoming their youngest ever player. The Spaniard would make his mark in Europe also, becoming the club’s youngest ever Champions League goalscorer when he found the net in a 5-1 win over Rosenborg in 2004.
Despite winning a host of major honours including the Premier League with Chelsea, La Liga with Barcelona and the World Cup with Spain, Fabregas never quite reached the pinnacle in the Champions League, his nearest miss being part of the Arsenal side beaten in the 2006 final.
Bojan Krkic – 17 years, 218 days
Another graduate of the Barcelona academy, Bojan was once regarded as the heir to Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp. Whilst those lofty comparisons seem far-fetched in hindsight, the former Stoke forward began his career in impressive fashion.
Having broken Messi’s record as Barcelona’s youngest ever player, Bojan would score an impressive 12 goals in all competitions in his debut season, including his first Champions League goal.
That came in a quarter-final at Schalke, Bojan scoring the only goal of the game to give his side a precious first-leg lead. Barcelona’s run would ultimately end with semi-final defeat to eventual winners Manchester United, though Bojan’s place in history was secured.
His career would never quite hit the heights projected, though he would win the competition twice, the forward being an unused substitute during Barcelona’s final victories in 2009 and 2011.
Mateo Kovacic – 17 years, 215 days
Fractionally younger than Bojan is current Chelsea midfielder Kovacic, whose precocious talent was recognised by Dinamo Zagreb as they threw him into Champions League action as a teenager.
Having come through an acid test against Real Madrid on his first appearance in the competition, Kovacic would become the second youngest goalscorer in the tournament’s history when he gave Zagreb the lead against French side Lyon.
The game would ultimately end in disappointment and a humbling 7-1 defeat for the Croatian outfit, though it did little to harm the midfielder’s progress as he would go on to become the club’s youngest ever captain.
Moves to Inter Milan and Real Madrid followed, before joining Chelsea on a permanent basis this summer following a successful loan spell last season.
Peter Ofori-Quaye – 17 years, 194 days
No doubt a piece of pub quiz trivia known only by the most statistician-like of football fans, Ghanaian forward Ofori-Quaye became the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history after finding the net for Olympiakos back in 1997, creating a record that stood for over 22 years.
That the goal came as a consolation in a 5-1 defeat is bound to matter little to the history-maker, who was regarded as a bright prospect upon his arrival at the Greek side that year. Whilst he would make little impact on Europe throughout the rest of his career, he did win six successive league titles with the club before leaving in 2003.
Spells at six clubs including the likes of OFI Crete and AEL Limassol would follow, whilst he also earned several caps for Ghana and featured at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ansu Fati – 17 years, 40 days
The precocious teenage talent made headlines across European football following his emergence at Barcelona, becoming the club’s youngest ever goalscorer and the third youngest goalscorer in the history of La Liga.
The Guineau-Bissau-born winger would then go on to write his name in Champions League history, becoming the youngest goalscorer in the competition’s history when he netted the winner against Inter Milan in the San Siro.
Handed his opportunity in the absence of several first-team stars with the club’s qualification assured, Fati showed he is a young talent ready to shine at the highest level.