Famous footballers when they were kids – in pictures

Footballers are the most recognizable people on the planet. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to know who some of the big guns are.

We all know what they look like now, but how can you recognize some of the game’s top players from earlier in their careers?

Some look very similar, but some look… well, see for yourself.

Back in the @Manuel_Neuer days…#MiaSanMia #FCB @FCBayern Here’s your boy when he was a kid! One of the best ever pic.twitter.com/zrBAbTyMgQ

— Football Tweets (@FotTwe) November 23, 2015

Manuel Neuer is here, looking like he can save a football team from defeat and a 90s boy band from falling off the charts.

David D. Gaya as a child. pic.twitter.com/KlCol4tE2t

— The Antique Football (@AntiqueFootball) September 1, 2015

If you thought David de Gea was the first face when he first joined Manchester United, get a load of it.

Timo Werner ich will ein Kind von dir aber es soll idd aussehen wie du früher pic.twitter.com/NE3wHxHZgb

— Tanzmaus Vi0ler? (@Vi0laVeilchen) May 23, 2020

Nothing to see here, just a young Timo Werner being used to sell Kinder chocolate in Germany.

Photo: A young Lionel Messi as a child #fcblive #barça #messi pic.twitter.com/fQwPs1j4

– FCBarcelonaFl #StayHome? (@FCBarcelonaFl) July 16, 2012

Future six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.

2012: Nuvar Calcio signed 18-year-old Bruno Fernandes for €40K. pic.twitter.com/N1PeqYmY0r

— Football Talent Scout — Jack Clegg (@FTalentScout) February 1, 2020

Bruno Fernandes was sporting the coolest haircut and jumper/shirt combo you’ll ever see when he joined Novara in 2012.

Thierry Henry as a child. pic.twitter.com/PtGShddrZJ

— The Antique Football (@AntiqueFootball) January 16, 2014

The image quality may be exceptional, but it certainly isn’t.

A young Robin van Persie poses with the Adidas Questar. pic.twitter.com/XqO4aUo8WN

— 90s Football (@90sfootball) November 21, 2014

I’m sure he’ll add to that shirt one day.

what’s this? Do you want a bonus?

The Young Robin van Persie pic.twitter.com/rjUBBuGh

— Arsenal (@tomgunner14) June 4, 2012

17-year-old Diego Costa looks like he belongs in a teenage drama played by a 34-year-old. pic.twitter.com/bGcGupOYt9

— FootballFunnys (@FootballFunnys) April 8, 2016

It’s nice to see that Diego Costa always looks like a middle-aged man who absolutely hates everything.

Gerrard poses with the trophy as a young Everton fan. #SBMeme pic.twitter.com/xQMEOeprlv

—Scoryboard (@Scoryboard) July 29, 2014

Anyway, it’s weird…

Sir Alex and a young David Beckham. pic.twitter.com/ykYhgQymBZ

— PurelyFootball UK (@PurelyFootball) April 9, 2015

Two for one here. Not only do you get David Beckham with a minimalist David Beckham style haircut, you also get a young Sir Alex Ferguson!

Kevin De Bruyne as a child. I don’t see much difference lol pic.twitter.com/S35HRHnW1P

— Thanseem Muhammad (@thanseem27) August 12, 2013

Liverpool fan Kevin De Bruyne gives his first interview, before he became a KDB Chelsea fan and KDB Man City fan.

Top Panini sticker of the day: Legend – Alan Shearer – Southampton 1992 pic.twitter.com/Slae0IQEXJ

— Old School Panini (@OldSchoolPanini) March 7, 2013

Alan Shearer with hair will never be weird.

Alan Shearer as Southampton Schoolboy. pic.twitter.com/LrsNzvB6XI

— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) July 18, 2019

Jeune & innocent…Antoine Griezmann #AllezLesBleus #Euro2016Final @AntoGriezmann @PierreMenes @IsaHorlans @fxmenage pic.twitter.com/XHjLMqcJLK

— Christian & Vincent (@GarconsOfficiel) July 10, 2016

Griezmann here, rocking his best Auxerre shirt and hoop earring. What a combo. Not her last bold look.

Mesut Ozil in his Schalke days. #Arsenal ready to shoot Man Utd, #afc pic.twitter.com/MXLTlkPG8r

– Dennis? (@DennisIghodaro) November 10, 2013

A mullet and a fauxhawk?

Don’t worry, she also has her own Kinder chocolate bar…

Mesut Ozil is supporting the wishes of children in Germany before playing a professional game.

The greatest playmaker of all time. pic.twitter.com/lMG6lCQ6EZ

– Eliot? (@LacaSweat) March 31, 2019

Young Jack Wilshere pic.twitter.com/bhhR7CKxoG

— Amin (@ArsenalRealm) October 21, 2013

Shame the bowl didn’t last long.

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