Can you guess the future star from their childhood picture?

Can you guess the future star from their childhood picture?

A goal-scoring machine who used to play for his current side’s arch-rivals, the best midfielder of his generation and a winner of 11 top-flight titles… can YOU guess the identity of these future football stars based on childhood pictures?

  • Professional footballers in the modern era are now recognised wherever they go 
  • However even some of the games’ biggest talents are unidentifiable as children 
  • Sportsmail has put together nine faces – and a few clues – for you to guess at  

Life as a professional footballer is one that nowadays goes hand-in-hand with a career in the spotlight, where your face is likely recognised the world over. 

And although their stardom makes them recognisable to even casual football fans from pictures of their youth, there are still plenty of faces that can leave us guessing. 

Sportsmail have put together a selection of the games best and brightest, who you would not struggle to name within an instant. 

But can you guess who they are based on a childhood picture and a few clues to help you on the way? 

This youngster went on to become one of the most prolific strikers in European history 

Starting with a difficult one, this player is known for their combative play-style, high-kicking flexibility, and a somewhat divisive tendency to refer to themselves in the third person. 

This talismanic striker – perhaps the best their country ever produced – frequently describes themselves as a lion, and even has an enormous back tattoo to match. 

One of the most successful No 9s in the history of football, and a winner of major honours in five different countries – and even the recipient of the 2013 Puskas award for a typically outrageous finish – but they have never lifted the famous Champions League trophy.

This striker has 121 appearances for their country, scoring 62 goals along the way, as well as a stunning 389 goals in league competitions in a professional career spanning more than two decades. 

But who is it? 

It is, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic! 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 389 league goals in a storied career last more than two decades

This player has lifted a Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao cup as captain of their club

This player is a little closer to home for some Premier League fans, and will perhaps go on to be recognised as one of the divisions all-time best captains – although they quickly outgrew the blonde hair. 

They started their career at a club that now competes in the Championship, and played 79 games before moving on to a team that have become one of the world’s top sides in recent years. 

The youngster would go on to wear the armband for their country on eight occasions, and was part of one of the most heartbreaking international competition final defeats less than two years ago. 

A winner of the champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, UEFA Super League, Club World Cup, Community Shield – there is no club trophy available that they have not laid their hands on. 

The mystery player? 

Jordan Henderson!

Jordan Henderson is one of the most successful captains in the history of Liverpool FC

The painted face provides a less-then subtle clue towards this player’s mystery identity

This grinning youngster will go on to be one of the leading contemporary attacking midfielders in the Premier League, who will make their name for providing assists and goals alike for their team. 

The face paint is a bit of a giveaway, but they were recently named in their country’s World Cup squad that took part in the competition in Qatar last winter, although they failed to have the catalytic impact that they have shown at their club in recent seasons. 

This player has won an FA Cup and community shield at their current side, and has quickly become the most important player in their ranks – which has prompted big-money interest from several rivals over the last couple of transfer windows. 

And if their goal celebration is any insight, this mystery player will go on to become quite a fan of one of the UK’s most loved throwing sports – typical of a sharpshooter with this level of keen-eyes accuracy!

Who could it be?

It’s Leicester’s James Maddison! 

English attacking midfielder James Maddison’s love of darts features in his goal celebration

This cool customer on the right comes from a family of top-level professional footballers

The cool customer on the right of this pic is one of two talented football-playing siblings, but has continued to adopt a similar look of confidence throughout a hugely successful playing career. 

The player was eligible to play for two different World Cup-winning nations and was born in another, and has made a name for themselves as one of the best passers in the game. 

They have won 11 league titles, two Champions Leagues and the Club World Cup with two different clubs, as well as 15 club cup competitions. 

They have never provided more than six assists in a season, but this player has become one of the world’s best midfield players, playing 482 professional games after progressing through one of Spain’s most famous youth academies.

But can you guess who it might be?

It’s Thiago Alcantara! And his brother Raphinha now plays for Al-Arabi after leaving PSG in 2022.  

Thiago Alcantara has won league titles with Bayern Munich and Barcelona and hopes to add a Premier League crown to his growing tally soon

That cocked right foot would go on to break goal scoring records at a blistering rate

This young man may be hard to place here, but they will grow into one of the most universally recognisable faces in European football – and one that has given defenders nightmares for several years now. 

This youngster actually started out playing for his current side’s arch-rivals – albeit in the very, very early stages of his career – although there’s no doubting his allegiances now as he enters his 14th season with his current side. 

There’s plenty of speculation over what the future holds for this goal scoring machine – but one thing that looks fairly certain is taking Alan Shearer’s long-standing Premier League 260-goal record. 

This one was a little bit easier than the others, but who do you think it is?

It’s only England captain Harry Kane! 

Harry Kane recently became only the third player to reach 200 goals in the Premier League

This future serial title-winner can play in a whole range of positions with proficiency 

This next future superstar has not changed much, and remains one of the happiest faces in professional football to this day – and you can’t blame them given the stunning trophy haul they’ve amassed over the years. 

They are still yet to reach their prime – which is quite a scary thought given they’ve become something of an ever-present in English football – but they have now proved for two different clubs that they are more than just a utility player. 

Short of between the sticks and leading the line, there is no position this youngster will not go on to fill in their future career. 

They were voted their country’s player of the year in 2019 and have served with distinction on 52 occasions – scoring eight goals – but are yet to feature in a World Cup in the midfield position they often take up in international football. 

Four league titles, including a stunning half-time substitution on the final day of the most recent trophy-winning campaign that proved the difference on the day, as well as five further cup-winner’s medals and a Community Shield title to boot. 

At his old club he was referred to as another player’s son, and recently went viral for his reaction to his new side’s deadline day signing. 

Who could it be?

None other than Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.  

Oleksandr Zinchenko could join the select few to win consecutive titles with different teams should Arsenal lift the Premier League trophy this season

Don’t be fooled by the hair – they favour a completely different look now they have grown up

This grinning youth has enjoyed something of a meteoric rise to prominence in the last two seasons, and seems to be constantly linked with a move in recent transfer windows. 

He made his name out on loan before returning to the club where he has spent his entire career from 2008 to the present day, but has found opportunities a little harder to come by of late. 

Yet that did not stop this player from earning a perhaps surprising call-up to the World Cup squad for their country, though they failed to make it off the bench in Qatar.

But make no mistakes – this player seems destined for greatness for both club and country, and is sure to add to their sole winner’s medal – from the Europa League in 2018-19 – before the end of their promising career. 

This one is a little harder, but who do you think it is?

Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher – who else?

Conor Gallagher has quickly become a household name after a stunning loan spell at Crystal Palace

This youngster would go on to be one of the key components in a World Cup-winning team

This player has a reputation for being a bit of a prankster and a joker, but when it comes to the game this player showed themselves to be a serious talent at a very young age. 

At 10 years old the future World Cup-winner joined their current side and have remained there ever since, writing their name into the history books time and time again. 

A treble-winner, this future world beater even invented their own position, and it’s one that no other player can do quite like them. 

The goals might have dried up in recent years, but the influence has not. In each of their last full three top-flight seasons, they’ve racked up 21 assists in the league alone. 

A whopping 31 trophies won with their club as well as a World Cup trophy, this player will surely go down as one of the most successful in the history of their club and country. 

Think you know who it is?

It’s Germany and Bayern Munich legend, Thomas Muller.

Thomas Muller has won two Champions Leagues including the stunning 2012-13 treble

This infant could hardly dream up the fabled career that will go on to enjoy at the top of the game

Last but not least, and arguably the hardest one of all, we have a youngster that has surely become the byword for hard-work and determination.

Forced to flee his home when he was born alongside his family, this player grew up shepherding goats by the age of 5, but not even a full-blown war could stop this future superstar from achieving their dreams.

Unsurprising given the picture, this player seems to have been born with a ball at their feet, so natural is their control and ability in the middle of the park, and there is no side in the world – arguably in history – that this player would not walk in to. 

Despite a storied career that it is impossible to find criticism for, this player is now firmly in their twilight years, although that has not stopped them giving their all for club and country whenever called upon. 

They almost dragged their country to an unlikely World Cup, and were rewarded with a Ballon d’Or title for their troubles – something that no football fan alive would deny them given what they have done for the game. 

Part of one of the best three-man midfielders in history, only one player has ever won Champions League titles than this prolific maestro. 

But who do you think that youngster would grow up to be?

None other than Croatia and Real Madrid legend Luka Modric! 

Croatia and Real Madrid star Luka Modric is considered the greatest midfielder of his generation 

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