Celestine Babayaro’s 26-Year Champions League Record Finally Broken As Dortmund Battle Hard In Russia


The former Nigerian defender is no longer the youngest footballer to have ever featured in Europe’s premier club competition on a night the German side are losing to Zenit St Petersburg

Teenage sensation Youssoufa Moukoko has broken Celestine Babayaro’s longstanding record of being the youngest player to feature in the UEFA Champions League even as Borussia Dortmund are trailing 1-0 to Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.

The Germany youth international of Cameroonian descent was a 58th-minute substitute as the Bundesliga side were stunned by Zenit at the Gazprom Arena on Tuesday night.

In featuring against the Russians, Moukoko made history as the youngest ever player to play in the Champions League aged 16 years and 18 days, breaking the record held by Babayaro.

The former Super Eagles defender and Atlanta Olympic Games hero was 16 years and 87 days old when he started for RSC Anderlecht against FC Steaua Bucureşti on 23 November 1994.

Borussia Dortmund were already guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League as a result of a better head-to-head advantage over Club Brugge.

But top spot was not yet sealed, with Lazio likely to overtake the Germans with a home win over Club Brugge in the group’s other game.

It was, therefore, no surprise to see manager Lucien Favre fielding his first-choice stars from kick-off.

But Moukoko’s moment arrived just before the hour-mark as he was introduced into the encounter to replace Felix Passlack as the visitors sought a way back into the tie after falling to an early Sebastian Driussi deflected effort.

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Babayaro’s record stood for over 26 years.

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