List of Youngest Footballers to Play for Their Countries: Youngest Male Footballers to Play International Matches. Latest Updated List.
This page contains a list of the youngest male footballers who made their mark in international matches, including Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal, Wales’ Harry Wilson, Norway’s Martin Odegaard, Brazil’s Pele, and more. Explore their remarkable achievements and records.
Top 5 Youngest Male Footballers to Play International Matches
- Lamine Yamal
- Harry Wilson
- Sam Johnston
- Martin Odeegard
List of Youngest Footballers to Play for Their Countries
- Lamine Yamal – Barcelona’s Rising Star
Lamine Yamal, a prodigious talent from Barcelona, made his debut at just 15 years old last season. He recently became Spain’s youngest international footballer, setting a new record. Yamal achieved this milestone when he came on as a substitute during a Euro 2024 qualifying match against Georgia. At the age of 16 years and 57 days, he surpassed his Barcelona teammate Gavi’s record set in 2021 when Gavi was 17 years and 62 days old.
- Harry Wilson – Wales’ Early Sensation
Harry Wilson’s journey with the Welsh national team started at an early age. He made his debut under the guidance of Craig Bellamy before even representing his club side, Liverpool. Wilson’s international debut took place in October 2013 when he was just 16 years and 207 days old. This achievement broke Gareth Bale’s previous record by 108 days. Interestingly, England had considered inviting Wilson, but he ultimately chose to play for Wales.
- Sam Johnston – Ireland’s Historical Figure
Sam Johnston holds a unique place in football history as he played for Ireland in their inaugural international fixture at the age of 15 years and 153 days. This historic match ended in a 13-0 defeat against England in 1882. Johnston’s record remains unbroken, making him the youngest European international at that time.
- Martin Odegaard – Norway’s Rising Star
Martin Odegaard made waves in Norway by becoming the youngest player in the country’s top flight four months before his international debut. The midfielder debuted for Norway at the age of 15 years and 253 days in an August 2014 friendly match against the United Arab Emirates. Remarkably, Odegaard played 14 club games before this debut. Later that year, at 15 years and 300 days old, he became the youngest player to participate in a European Championship qualifier, helping Norway secure a victory over Bulgaria.
- Pele – Brazil’s Iconic Wonderkid
Pele, the iconic Brazilian footballer, began his journey as a teenager, scoring on his debut for Brazil at the age of 16 against Argentina on July 7, 1957. He rapidly rose to global stardom and played a pivotal role in Brazil’s 1958 World Cup victory. At just 17 years old, he achieved a historic hat-trick against France in the semi-finals and added two more goals in the final against Sweden. Pele went on to secure three World Cup titles with Brazil, and his teenage achievements remain a highlight of his illustrious career.
- Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon’s Record-Breaking Striker
Samuel Eto’o, a prominent figure in both Real Madrid and Barcelona, made his debut for Cameroon the day before his 16th birthday in a 5-0 friendly defeat against Costa Rica in 1997. Eto’o would later become Cameroon’s all-time top scorer, with 56 goals in 118 caps. He currently serves as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.
- Diego Maradona – Argentina’s Eternal Legend
Diego Maradona, known for his legendary status in football, debuted for Argentina at 16 years and 120 days in a 1977 friendly against Hungary while playing for Argentinos Juniors. He scored his first international goal against Scotland two years later. Maradona’s career included captaining his country to victory in the 1986 World Cup. He scored 34 goals in 91 caps and later served as the national team’s coach from 2008 to 2010.
- Lucas Knecht – Northern Mariana Islands’ Youngest International
Lucas Knecht holds the distinction of being the youngest male international footballer, setting the record at the age of 14 years and two days. He represented Northern Mariana Islands in a match against Guam in the East Asian Football Championship preliminary round on April 1, 2007. However, it’s important to note that the Northern Mariana Islands is not a FIFA member.
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