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Joao Felix transfer: Seven other wonderkids who shot to stardom overnight, including Manchester United and Liverpool aces

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Joao Felix has enjoyed an extraordinary rise to the top of football.

The Portuguese teenager has shot to stardom in just five months of action in the Primeira Liga, netting an incredible 15 goals in 21 appearances.

Felix has joined Atletico Madrid for an astronomical fee

The attacker has now signed for Atletico Madrid in a jaw-dropping £113million deal, with just Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele moving for more cash.

In light of his meteoric rise to the top of the beautiful game, we at talkSPORT.com wanted to identify six other superstars who enjoyed a rapid rise to the top of football.



Sir Bobby Charlton

Charlton entered the setup at Old Trafford as a 15-year-old and had an immediate impact after showing strong goalscoring form in the youth teams.

His name was beginning to do the rounds on the training ground and after he scored a brilliant brace against Charlton on his debut in one of the academy teams, his form was noticed by the manager, Sir Matt Busby.

Sir Bobby Charlton at 80: Relive some of the Manchester United legend’s highlights
Sir Bobby Charlton shot to fame at Man United

Busby took an immediate liking to what he saw and fast-tracked the starlet into the senior side. He would go on to score ten more times in 13 appearances that year to establish himself as key member of the squad.

Charlton would achieve extraordinary things in the game, winning both the Ballon d’Or and the World Cup in a glittering career spanning 24 years.

Robbie Fowler

Liverpool’s League Cup clash against ​Fulham in 1993 looked like nothing but a formality, with the Reds expected to progress to the next round with ease.

And it proved to be just that as they hammered their opponents 8-1 over two legs.

However, the tie would prove significant due to the unearthing of the gem that was Fowler.

Fowler was the ultimate finisher at Liverpool

On his debut, Fowler bagged his first goal for the club, but the return fixture was nothing short of a fairytale for the teenager.

Fowler scored five times in front of a packed home crowd to cement himself as an Anfield favourite after just 90 minutes.

The marksman then smashed in a hat-trick shortly afterwards in a league game against ​Southampton and he would go onto become one of the club’s best ever strikers.

Gianluigi Buffon

The Italian has been at the top of the game since the moment he set foot on the football pitch.

The veteran stopper, who has now returned to Juventus for the final season of his career, immediately shot to fame with a string of stunning performances for Parma as a 17-year-old in 1995.

12. Italy – Gianluigi Buffon (Parma to Juventus) = £33million (2001)
Buffon impressed with Parma before moving to Juventus

Up against the best team in Europe at the time, AC Milan, Buffon put in an inspired performance to keep the Rossoneri at bay – almost single-handedly earning his side a 0-0 draw.

He became a star of the Parma team and six years later moved to Juventus, where he would go onto make an astonishing 509 Serie A appearances. He is now looking to beat Paolo Maldini’s all time appearance record in Italian football.

Wayne Rooney

Sometimes great performances can propel you into stardom, other times it can simply be an incredible goal.

With Rooney, it was just that. The Everton youngster thundered an absolute stunner past David Seaman in 2002 to end Arsenal’s 30-match unbeaten streak.

Wayne Rooney recalls stunning winning goal for Everton v Arsenal in 2002
A young Rooney celebrates his stunning winning goal against Arsenal in 2002

Rooney became the youngest Premier League goalscorer of all-time with the strike and the commentator’s unforgettable remark to ‘remember the name’ couldn’t have proved more true.

Rooney, as we all know, would later captain Manchester United and England and become the all-time top scorer for both sides.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Admittedly, Ronaldo had dazzled for Sporting Lisbon in the Primeira Liga for a short period but it was when the winger was handed an opportunity to play in a friendly against Manchester United that he really caught the eye.

He terrorised Sir Alex Ferguson’s side all day and the legendary manager was so impressed by his mercurial efforts that he ordered the club to sign him instantly.

Ronaldo is arguably the Premier League’s greatest ever player, nevermind the greatest foreign player
getty images – getty

His devastating skills were a revelation in the Premier League and he quickly established himself as one of the most entertaining players in the league.

After just one season as a Red Devil, Ronaldo had already become one of the most feared players in the world.

Danny Rose

Rose could not have imagined a better debut for Tottenham.

He scored the goal of the season in a hard-fought victory over his side’s bitter rivals Arsenal.

The goal was subsequently described as ‘a volley so thunderous that you could hear the whack of his boot above the din of the raucous crowd’.

Rose scored an incredible goal on his Spurs debut

Apart from perhaps Rooney’s against Arsenal, you’d be hard tasked to find a more memorable debut goal.

The papers the next day had already branded him as a future star of English football and he has proved to be a very capable defender ever since.

Marcus Rashford

Rashford began his United career like a house on fire, astonishingly scoring on his European, Premier League and Manchester derby debuts.

Following his incredible start to life at Old Trafford, the forward was heralded as the next best thing at the club.

1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Rashford netted the winner against Manchester City to propel himself into stardom

In February 2016, the youngster was just another academy player looking to breakthrough the ranks at Man United. Less than a month later, he was a Stretford End hero and an outsider for Euro 2016 selection.

Remarkably, he made the cut for the Championships in France that summer – although he did not have the best of tournaments.

He will be hoping to become a talismanic figure for the club next season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.



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