If you've been impressed by Borussia Dortmund academy graduates like Christian Pulisic and Mario Götze, prepare to be stunned by another outrageously gifted youngster in the BVB stable: Youssoufa Moukoko.
The 14-year-old (do not rub your eyes, yes, we did say 14!) has been so prolific in his three insolently short years with the Dortmund U15s, 16s and 17s that he will play for the U19s from 2019/20, youth chief Lars Ricken has confirmed.
"Youssoufa has now reached the age in which he is allowed to play in the U19 team," Ricken told German daily, BILD. "We see this as the right year for him to play in this age group, which corresponds to his performance. He's scored a lot of goals, is very inquisitive, hungry for success, hardworking and always comes with a smile that distinguishes him, that’s what we look at. The tools are there."
It all began in October 2017, when Moukoko was just 12. The child prodigy was the hero of the hour against Schalke, netting a stunning Revierderby brace as the BVB U17s recovered a three-goal deficit to draw 4-4, and put his name on the back pages.
The Cameroon-born prospect finished that season with 40 goals as Dortmund won the B-Junioren Bundesliga West (West Germany’s top U17 league), before lifting the national title with decisive goals from Moukoko in the semi-final against Bayer Leverkusen and final against Bayern Munich.
In 2018/19 he helped Dortmund seal top spot in Bundesliga West with a game to spare and also reach the semi-finals once again. There, he scored two and also provided an assist as BVB beat their Wolfsburg counterparts 4-1 in the first leg - meaning he now has 45 goals for the season to help Dortmund edge closer to defending their crown.
Watch: Moukoko's wondergoal, scored against Leverkusen!
Moukoko, who was born in Cameroon on 24 November 2004, joined Dortmund from Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli in 2016 and immediately hit the ground running.
In 2016/17, he was top scorer in the club's all-conquering U15 side, netting 33 times in 21 games to help them win the Regionalliga West title with five matches to spare. His performances did not go unnoticed by the German FA, who called him up for the U16's 3-1 win over Austria last September.
"It remains to be seen whether or not this will be an extraordinary crop of players," said Peter Wazinski, Moukoko's coach with the U15s. "But we hope that the majority of them will develop in a similar way to the group born in 1998." That includes Pulisic and Jacob Bruun Larsen, as well as reserve team players Janni Serra and Dario Scuderi.
The signs remain strong, though, with Moukoko enjoying another magnificent campaign in 2018/19. With the league season drawing to a close, he’s netted a remarkable 45 goals in 25 appearances, including four in a 6-1 victory over Arminia Bielefeld that booked Dortmund's ticket for the last four.
The 14-year-old has captained the side three years his senior 13 times, and has only failed to score on five occasions in Dortmund’s unbeaten campaign. He’s bagged seven braces, four hat-tricks and netted four on three occasions against FC Hennef, Preußen Münster and Bielefeld. Figures like that have led to suggestions he may soon be promoted to the club's U19s.
While it may be a few more years until Moukoko makes the step up to the pros, the teenager already has big plans for his BVB career. “My goal is to become a professional with Dortmund, win the Champions League with Borussia and win the Ballon d’Or,” the striker told SportBild.
Ricken, however, has been quick to urge caution about Moukoko’s future – pointing out that he won't be able to play for the first team for another couple of years.
“We are staying calm for now and don’t forget that when we judge his performances,” Ricken said. "Just because he's scored a lot of goals at youth level does not guarantee he will become a professional."
Nuri Sahin remains Dortmund's and indeed the Bundesliga's youngest-ever player at the age of 16 years, 11 months and one day. Should Moukoko feature for the first team by the start of the 2021/22 season, he could break that record by a couple of months.