Top 10 Best Youngest Players In World Cup History, Ranked

There is growing excitement worldwide in advance of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November. Many athletes spend their entire careers without ever attending a World Cup match.

Furthermore, the event has also provided participants with the perfect stage to establish their brand and reputation. It's an old dream - playing on the international stage in front of millions of people while representing your nation at the FIFA World Cup. But for some, the opportunity to shine comes at a very young age. Suppose you're truly young - like in school young - and you're still playing and succeeding, just imagine what you can do in the future ahead of you! This became a reality for some fortunate but undeniably exceptionally talented players.

To get a better understanding of whom these players are, let's examine the youngest players to ever win the World Cup in more detail. We will walk you through them in the list below.

#10 Theo Walcott (2006)

youngest world cup player, youngest player in world cupSource: shropshirestar

Everyone was shocked when Sven-Göran Eriksson chose Theo Walcott, then 17 years old, for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was the team's only other attacker outside Peter Crouch, but he was never given the chance to make an impact. Walcott, regrettably, spent zero time on the most important sequence. He missed the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, and in 2014, an injury put an end to his hopes. He was no longer a member of the national squad by 2018, the year of the competition in Russia.

Walcott was gifted and quick, but he was also frequently injured and unreliable. He only participated in less than 50 matches for England and only 270 for Arsenal over his twelve-year career. Unacceptable for a man Leo Messi referred to as one of his greatest opponents.

#9 Norman Whiteside (1982)

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There are still a few World Cup records held by Norman Whiteside that haven't been broken. He broke the competition record for being the youngest player in 1982. He also played in Northern Ireland's opening match at the age of just 17 years and 41 days. At that point, Whiteside and his group had a great run and nearly advanced to the semifinals. He returned to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico four years later and scored a goal there. However, after dropping two games, Northern Ireland was eliminated.

Whiteside played the majority of his career for Manchester United and was a capable midfielder who could also play occasionally as a striker. Before transferring to Everton, he remained there for seven seasons. Sadly, his propensity for injuries led him to quit at the young age of 26.

#8 Vladimir Petrović (1974)

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Vladimir Petrovi Pion was just 18 years old when he was chosen to represent Germany in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. The youthful midfielder was able to participate in two matches, starting against Sweden and then substituting against Brazil. He was back at the 1982 World Cup eight years later. Even though he scored against Honduras, Yugoslavia still didn't advance to the following round.

Red Star Belgrade provided Pion with his best years, where he won four titles in ten years. However, because of the tight Yugoslav regulations, he could only play for international teams after turning 27. Nevertheless, he only featured in 13 games during his brief stay at Arsenal. Later, Petrovi managed his native Serbia, although he had little success.

#7 Tostão (1966)

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Tosto, who was only 19 years old, was the youngest player in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, which saw Brazil defend its championship. For the team that was eliminated after three group games, the tournament turned out to be disastrous. Despite this, he teamed up well with Pelé and was a key component of their successful 1970 World Cup team. Unfortunately, Tostao opted to end his career in 1973 at the age of 27 owing to an eye injury.

Tosto was an unusual attacker because of his lack of power and speed, inability to head the ball well, and poor long-range shooting skills. He did, however, possess excellent dribbling and passing skills. Tosto was a player who would initiate action and was very adaptable. He could in theory play as a striker, central midfielder, or any other position.

#6 Christian Eriksen (2010)

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Christian Eriksen, who was just 18 years old, traveled to and participated in two games at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, Denmark's performance was poor as they were unable to move past the group round. He was obviously a part of the team once more when they won the right to compete in the 2018 event. This time, they advanced to the second round but lost on penalties against Croatia.

Eriksen has played for successful clubs since making his national team debut, and he was a vital component of Tottenham in 2019 when they lost the UEFA Champions League final. Eriksen, a talented free-kick taker, and adaptable midfielder, frequently initiates action. The Danish player can shoot with both feet and is an excellent winger because of his pace.

#5 Samuel Eto'o (1998)

youngest world cup player, youngest player in world cupSource: 90min

Samuel Eto'o was the best of the young players that Cameroon frequently selected for international competitions! He was already a Real Madrid player and took part in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France at the age of 17. He only participated in one match, in which Cameroon lost 3-0 to Italy. Despite failing to get past the group stage in any of his four attempts, Eto'o nevertheless had a fruitful international career. He won the African championship thrice and even the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Before going to clubs like Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Everton, among others, Cameronian spent his most productive years in Barcelona, where he amassed more than 100 goals. Eto'o was a terrific leader in addition to being renowned for his power, accuracy, and speed. Given that he played professionally for more than 20 years, his tenacity is legendary!

#4 Kylian Mbappe (2018)


Given that Kylie Mbappe has a long way to go before retiring, it is difficult to evaluate him. Even as a teenager, he was a superstar for France, Paris Saint-Germain, and Monaco. He participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and scored, becoming the nation's youngest player to do so. Additionally, he scored one in the championship game for a total of four goals.

Mbappe is improving despite being under a lot of pressure to impress since joining Paris Saint-Germain. He is tremendously quick but also very skilled, frequently likened to Thierry Henry. Due to his versatility, he can play both the center forward position and the flank position in the offensive. Mbappe might move up our list even further in the future!

#3 Gianni Rivera (1962)

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Gianni Rivera, the youngest player in the dreadful 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile, is a huge hero of Italian football. Rivera was fortunate to make his tournament debut against West Germany, but Italy rapidly exited, therefore that was his only match. Rivera only participated in nine games in all across three additional World Cups. The highlight of his international career was in 1970 when he lost the championship game to a powerful Brazil team led by Pelé. But in 1968, he won the European championship.

Naturally, Rivera is a legend of AC Milan, where he spent nearly 20 years playing and twice won the European Cup (now known as the Champions League). The Italian was ineffective in defense due to his lack of power, stamina, and speed. But his offensive variety, tactical acumen, and ball control were what really set him apart. Because of this, he became the star of every squad he played on.

#2 Ronaldo (1994)


At the best World Cup ever, Ronaldo was the youngest player and, at the age of 17, already had won a world championship with Brazil. He did not play for even one minute, hence his contribution was nonexistent. Since there was another Ronaldo at the time, many people are unaware that Ronaldo was once known as Ronaldinho. Nevertheless, he played a significant part in the final in 1998 and the subsequent championship in 2002. Before Germany's Miroslav Klose scored one more goal, Ronaldo set a record with nine goals and 15 points that year. Unexpectedly, Oliver Kahn defeated him for the honor of top player.

Ronaldo, popularly known as "O Fenômeno," accomplished the unthinkable by competing with fierce rivals Barcelona and Real, then Inter and Milan. Ronaldo was a beast in his heyday, and he scored a lot of goals up till the conclusion of his career! His time in Barcelona is legendary because he scored 34 goals in 37 games while possessing Tyson-like strength, speed, and technique. The Brazilian, however, was unable to hold onto the top spot for very long due to several ailments and weight issues. Ronaldo may have been the best ever if he had been in better health!

#1 Pelé (1958)


Regardless of your viewpoint, Pelé has to be at the top of this list! This Brazilian player would still be ranked first even if we only considered their World Cup debut performance! Pelé had a big role on the team in 1958 despite just being 17 at the time. Since Brazil was already the best team and the favorite to win it all, achieving that was particularly difficult. Pelé easily retained the title after winning it twice more in 1962 and 1970.

For Pelé, the World Cups were everything. Unfortunately, this was the last opportunity many people had to see him play because he never did so in Europe. The Brazilian was not only a great attacker, but also a great passer, playmaker, and team leader. Additionally, he performed well in crucial games and frequently made a difference. Additionally, Pelé never lost his cool or made costly errors while playing the game.


Pelé is without a doubt the greatest World Cup player ever at the age of 24, even though we still believe that Maradona was superior overall. Mbappe still has a chance to catch up to him, but it will be very challenging.

In your perspective, which young players are competing in the World Cup? Would your top ten differ significantly? In our comments section, we welcome debate!

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