10 youngest Champions League goalkeepers

Here are the 10 youngest goalkeepers to feature in the Champions League era since it was rebranded in 1992:

1. Mile Svilar – BENFICA 0-1 Manchester United – 18 October 2017 – 18 years, 1 month, 21 days

Mile Svilar became the youngest goalkeeper in UEFA Champions League history on Wednesday night in Benfica’s 0-1 defeat at home to Manchester United.

The 18-year-old Belgian had only made his professional debut in Benfica’s 1-0 win at Olhanense in the Portuguese Cup on Saturday.  He is an under-19 international who arrived from Anderlecht in a €2.5 million deal this past summer.

Svilar became the third different goalkeeper in as many matches to start for the Portuguese champions in Europe this season.

 2. Iker Casillas – Olympiacos 3-3 REAL MADRID – 15 September 1999 – 18 years, 3 months, 26 days

The current FC Porto goalkeeper replaced former-West Germany international Bodo Illgner as Real Madrid’s first choice goalkeeper at the age of 18, making his Champions League debut in the Spanish giants’ opening group stage game; a 3-3 draw in Greece.

Iker Casillas would only start one more game in the opening group stage game – a 4-1 win at home to Molde.  Illgner played in one game whilst fellow youngster Albano Bizzarri started three of Madrid’s final four opening group stage games.  The Spaniard is 39 years old and currently backup at Udinese.

Casillas would go on to play 12 games in that season’s tournament culminating in a 3-0 win over Valencia at the Stade de France in which the Real Madrid legend would start.

3. Nikolay Mihaylov – LEVSKI SOFIA 0-3 Werder Bremen – 31 October 2006 – 18 years, 4 months, 3 days

The son of Bulgarian legend and the former-Reading goalkeeper who was wearing a wig at USA 94, Bobby Mihaylov, made his Champions League debut as the youngest player since Iker Casillas in 2006.

Nikolay Mihaylov’s appearance in a 0-3 defeat at home to Werder Bremen would prove to be his only Champions League appearance that season,  His only appearances since came for FC Twente in 2010.

He spent a season with Liverpool in 2007-08 but didn’t make a senior appearance.  Now 29 years old, Mihaylov currently has 33 caps for the Bulgarian national team.

4. Igor Akinfeev – FC Porto 0-0 CSKA MOSCOW – 14 September 2004 – 18 years, 5 months, 6 days

Igor Akinfeev was a highly-rated teenager who broke into the CSKA Moscow first-team as a 17-year-old during the 2003 season in which he became a Russian Premier League champion.

The following year the youngster made his Champions League debut in a 0-0 draw at FC Porto and started all six group games.  Akinfeev also made his debut for the Russian national team in 2004.

13 years later and Igor Akinfeev is now 31, having made 102 appearances for Russia and 52 in the Champions League – all for CSKA Moscow for whom he has spent his whole career with.  He has not kept a clean sheet in the competition in his last 42 matches in the competition since drawing 0-0 at Arsenal in November 2006.

5. Adrian Šemper – Lyon 3-0 DINAMO ZAGREB – 14 September 2016 – 18 years, 8 months, 2 days

Last season Dinamo Zagreb handed a Champions League debut to 18-year-old Adrian Šemper between the sticks as they went down 3-0 at Lyon in the group stage.  The Croatian team would end up losing all six of their games without scoring a single goal.

This would be Šemper’s only Champions League appearance last season and is currently on loan at NK Lokomotiva in the Croatian top flight with his parent club having previously rejected an offer from Chelsea.

6. Maksim Kabanov – SPARTAK MOSCOW 2-2 Feyenoord – 18 September 2001 – 18 years, 8 months, 19 days

Maksim Kabanov was handed his Champions League debut in 2001 as an 18-year-old in a 2-2 draw for Spartak Moscow at home to Feyenoord.  After starting their next match, a 1-3 loss at home to Bayern Munich, it would prove to be the Russian’s final game in the competition.

Now 34 years old, Kabanov has been retired for three years and spent most of his career in the second tier of Russian football.

7. David de Gea – FC Porto 2-0 ATLÉTICO MADRID – 30 September 2009 – 18 years, 10 months, 23 days

The final 18-year-old on the list is current Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.  Whilst at Atlético Madrid the Spaniard came on after 27 minutes for the injured Roberto, conceding both goals late on in a 2-0 defeat at FC Porto in September 2009.

David de Gea’s impressive performances saw him hold down a first-team spot under manager Abel Resino and later Quique Sánchez Flores.

The 26-year-old has now made 31 appearances in Europe’s elite club cup competition, including last night’s 1-0 victory at Benfica.

8. Pepe Reina – BARCELONA 1-0 Fenerbahçe – 31 October 2001 – 19 years, 2 months, 0 days

Called up to the Barcelona first-team squad in 2000 following injuries to Richard Dutruel and Francesc Arnau, Pepe Reina played half of their La Liga games that season, competing with Roberto Bonano.

The following season Reina was handed his Champions League debut in a 1-0 win at home to Fenerbahçe in the group stage and would go on to play four games in the competition that season.

Reina would go on top play for Villarreal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Napoli, for whom he is currently their first choice goalkeeper.  The 35-year-old has made 70 appearances in the Champions League to date.

9. Timon Wellenreuther – SCHALKE 04 – 0-2 Real Madrid – 18 February 2015 – 19 years, 2 months, 15 days

Timon Wellenreuther was 17 years old when he joined Schalke 04, immediately going into their reserve team.  He progressed quickly, making his Bundesliga debut in February 2015 against Bayern Munich and his Champions League debut two weeks later.

The German goalkeeper played both legs in Schalke’s 4-5 second round elimination at the hands of Real Madrid, which included a second leg victory at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.  Current Manchester City star Leroy Sané scored in the Spanish capital, and Premier League winner Christian Fuchs also stared for the German outfit.

Wellenfeuther didn’t last long at Schalke, being sent out on loan to RCD Mallorca the following season and currently plays for Dutch Eredivisie strugglers Willem II.

10. Petr Čech – Bayern Munich 0-0 SPARTA PRAGUE – 18 September 2001 – 19 years, 3 months, 29 days

The highly-rated teenager made his Champions League debut for new club Sparta Prague in a 0-0 draw at the Allianz Arena.  Petr Čech would go on to keep a clean sheet in each of his first four appearances in the competition; twice against Feyenoord and one more against Spartak Moscow.

Čech would go on to keep six clean sheets in 12 appearances that season.  The Czech Republic international has since made a total of 111 appearances in the Champions League, keeping 49 clean sheets and winning the 2011-12 tournament in a penalty shootout with Chelsea.

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