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Players who won the Champions League and the World Cup before they turned 25

For any player, winning the World Cup or the Champions League ranks as the pinnacle moment of their career.

But there’s very few who can boast both trophies among their list of honours.

But for some, success comes easy.

And early.

Just ask this lot…

 

Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and Jerome Boateng

germany

Germany’s triumphant 2014 World Cup side boasted a number of stars from Bayern Munich’s dominant crop who won the Champions League as part of an excellent treble during the 2012-13 season.

The likes of Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger went into the tournament as experienced, multi-honour winning mainstays in Joachim Low’s side, but there were a few fresh faces in the squad as well.

Such as Munich trio Muller, Kroos and Boateng, who all lifted the World Cup trophy under the age of 25 having enjoyed previous Champions League success.

In fact, it feels like Muller has been around forever, doesn’t it?

 

Gerard Pique, Juan Mata, Sergio Busquets, Javi Martinez and Pedro 

pique-guardiola

Spain’s dominance from 2008 to 2012 was coupled with Barcelona’s sensational tiki-taka era under Pep Guardiola, so it’s no real surprise that this period was the most successful for both club and country.

Young Barca trio Pique, Busquets and Pedro were all Champions League winners by the time they lifted the World Cup in 2010, whilst Chelsea’s 22-year-old star Juan Mata and Bayern’s towering midfielder Javi Martinez each lifting Europe’s ultimate piece of silverware in the following seasons.

 

 Alberto Gilardino

Gilardino

Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning side were exclusively Serie A-based, so with AC Milan the only Italian side to enjoy Champions League success in recent years, the pickings were slim.

What’s more, the Azzurri boasted plenty of experience during the 2006 tournament with only four players in the 25-man squad under the age of 25.

But one of those was Alberto Gilardino, the 23-year-old forward who’s finest moment in the tournament was probably when he provided the assist for Alessandro Del Piero’s goal against Germany in the semi-final.

He also helped Milan reach the final of the following season’s Champions League, with the Rossoneri overcoming Liverpool in the final.

 

Kaka 

kaka

Brazil’s tremendous 2002 World Cup winning side is best remembered for the incredible forward three of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, backed up by the experienced heads of Roberto Carlos, Gilberto Silva and skipper Cafu.

But there was youth in their ranks too, including Kaka who was just 20 years old at the time.

The nippy playmaker only played 25 minutes of football during the tournament, making an appearance in the their first group game, but he still picked up a winner’s medal.

Nearly five years later, he lifted the Champions League with AC Milan when they overcame Liverpool in Athens.


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