Famous Footballers When They Were Kids - in Pictures

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring | David Ramos/Getty Images

Footballers are some of the most recognisable people on the planet. You don't even need to be a fan of the sport to know who some of the big guns are.

We all know how they look now, but how could you recognise some of the game's top players from earlier in their careers?

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

1. Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer here, looking like he could save a football team from defeat and a 90s boy band from dropping out the charts.

2. David de Gea

If you thought David de Gea had a baby face when he first joined Manchester United, get a load of this.

3. Timo Werner

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

4. Lionel Messi

The future six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Lionel Messi.

5. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes was rocking the most 2012 haircut and jumper/shirt combo you've ever seen when he joined Novara.

6. Thierry Henry

The quality of the image might be abysmal, but that afro certainly isn't.

7. Robin van Persie

I'm sure he'll grow into that shirt one day.


What's that? You want a bonus one?

8. Diego Costa

Nice to see Diego Costa has always looked like a middle-aged man who hates absolutely everything.

9. Steven Gerrard

Well, this is awkward...

10. David Beckham

A two-for-one here. Not only do you get David Beckham sporting the least David Beckham-style haircut ever, as you get a young Sir Alex Ferguson as well!

11. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne the Liverpool fan giving his first ever interview, before he became KDB the Chelsea fan and KDB the Man City fan.

12. Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer with hair will never not be bizarre.

13. Antoine Griezmann

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

14. Mesut Özil

A mullet and a fauxhawk?

Don't worry, he got his own Kinder chocolate bar as well...

15. Jack Wilshere

Shame that bowl cut didn't last longer.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!