Cameroon-born Borussia Dortmund striker Youssoufa Moukoko opens up on age rumours
Youssoufa Moukoko (born 20 November 2004) is a professional footballer who currently plays as a striker for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. He is known for his scoring ability. Born in Cameroon, Moukoko represents Germany at youth international level.
He’s already scored three Bundesliga goals and could have scored more if not for a late injury last season.
Speaking with one of Germany’s highest circulation newspapers over the weekend, Moukoko made clear that such speculation had hurt him.
“At the beginning, those reports were a real burden for me,” he told the paper, “especially when my age was discussed. I didn’t want to do that to myself anymore. I wanted to quit.”
Despite the fact that Moukoko is widely heralded to potentially be the German national team’s next big star, the teenager has suffered racial abuse on German footballing pitches. The most notable of these came when Schalke fans harassed and harangued him during a youth derby fixture last autumn.
For Moukoko, reports suggesting that he was in fact older, compounded the problem of being an African in Germany. Had he had a different heritage, such speculation would not have surfaced. He credited BVB youth team coach Sebastian Geppert with helping him cope with all the extra public attention and keeping him on his career path.
“I do miss being able to go out in public and not being recognized,” Moukoko nevertheless divulged, “and things like eating in peace. There are moments when you want your peace and quiet.”
Although Moukoko can by no means be considered a normal teenager, he still looks forward to things that an ordinary person of his age does.
“I’m awaiting my 17th birthday,” he noted, “Then I’ll be happy when I can get my drivers license. Having freedom and being independent is important to me.”
Moukoko played in the under-13 team of FC St. Pauli Bundesliga 2 from 2014 to 2016 and scored 23 goals in 13 games as a striker. In July 2016, he was transferred to Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy. He played as the only 13-year-old in the Under 17 Bundesliga for Dortmund. Moukoko moved up to the under-19 team for the 2019–20 season at the age of 14, scoring six goals in his first match in the Under 19 Bundesliga in a 9–2 win against Wuppertaler SV. He completed his first UEFA Youth League match on 17 September 2019 against FC Barcelona, becoming the youngest player to be fielded in the competition. On 23 October 2019, Moukoko scored the opening goal in a game against Inter Milan, making him the youngest scorer in the Youth League. In total, Moukoko scored 141 goals in just 88 games for Dortmund’s under-17 and under-19 sides.
Since January 2020, Moukoko has also been allowed to train with BVB’s senior team under Lucien Favre. As the previous DFB age restrictions were changed in 2020, he became eligible to play in the Bundesliga after his sixteenth birthday. On 21 November, a day after turning sixteen, he made his debut for Dortmund as an 85th-minute substitute for Erling Haaland against Hertha BSC.
With the appearance, became the youngest player in league history, breaking the previous record of 16 years and 334 days held by Nuri Şahin.The away match finished as a 5–2 win for Dortmund. On 8 December, Moukoko made his debut for Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League as a substitute against Zenit Saint Petersburg, becoming the youngest player in the competition’s history at the age of 16 years and 18 days. This broke the record previously held by Celestine Babayaro of 16 years and 87 days. He made his first start for Dortmund in the Bundesliga on 15 December against Werder Bremen, and scored his first goal three days later against Union Berlin. In doing so, he became the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history at the age of 16 years and 28 days, surpassing the record of 17 years and 34 days held by Florian Wirtz.
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