Rise of City’s next star: Just 18, he’s broken two records & been named in the world’s top 60

Melbourne City youngster Max Caputo scored his first AFC Champions League goal with a well-taken header against Zhejiang FC.

Melbourne City striker Max Caputo put his name up in lights on the AFC Champions League stage this week. The teenager looks set for a breakout campaign in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Is this the season of Max Caputo?

The 18-year-old is one of Australia’s brightest prospects after bursting onto the scene with Melbourne City last season and his early form in 2023-24 suggests his star could soar to another level this term.

Caputo is the youngest Australian to score in an AFC competition and the fifth youngest scorer ever in the AFC Champions League since Opta began collecting data in 2013 after finding the back of the net in Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over Zhejiang FC.

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His well-taken header away in China helped seal City’s first Champions League win of the campaign on matchday two as the teenager continues to make waves.

It is another slice of history for Caputo, who became City’s youngest ever men’s goalscorer when he struck against Newcastle Jets in Round 22 last season.

Caputo celebrates scoring for Melbourne City in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

“He is a fantastic talent,” Rado Vidosic told reporters at the time. “… We rate him very, very highly. Thank God now he is with us.”

After beginning his junior career at Victorian outfit Essendon Royals before being spotted by City at Caroline Springs George Cross – the club where former Socceroos Kevin Muscat and John Markovski got their starts – Caputo became the third-youngest debutant in the history of the Isuzu UTE A-League in 2021.

Aged 15 years and 293 days, he was thrust into a behind-closed-doors Melbourne Derby by former boss Patrick Kisnorbo on June 6, almost two years ago.

Max Caputo (L) during his time with Caroline Springs George Cross’ Under-12 team.

He is only behind Teeboy Kamara (15 years and 212 days) and Idrus Abdulahi (15 years and 216 days) on the all-time list.

Caputo has continued to make an impact for City’s youth team, earning a spot on The Guardian’s list of the 60 best young talents in world football last year.

It was a class of players that included Real Madrid’s Arda Guler, Bayern Munich duo Paul Wanner and Mathys Tel and El Chadaille Bitshiabu of Paris Saint-Germain.

As City earned promotion from NPL3M VIC to the second tier for 2023, he scored nine goals in 13 appearances.

Caputo, who also spent time in Italy on trial, was called into the Young Socceroos squad in October 2022 – helping Australia qualify for the 2023 AFC Under-20 Asian Cup, where they eventually reached the quarter-finals.

He also scored for Australia’s Under-18s against England at the FPF Sub-18 Tournament in Lisbon in June.

Three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers City kick-off their campaign against Western United on October 21.

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