Definition of Golden Boy

The Golden Boy award is an award given to a footballer who is playing in Europe and is under the age of 21. Voted on by sports journalists, it gives an insight into who might be the future Ronaldos and Messis of the footballing stage.

The Golden Boy award origins and history are explained.  Illustration.  Who are the famous winners?Established back in 2003 by the Italian sports paper Tuttosport, the award is now embraced by some of the biggest newspapers from all across Europe. Bild in Germany, The Times in the UK, Mundo Deportivo in Spain and l'Equipe in France are just a few of the papers that participate in the voting. Journalists list their top 5 most impressive, with the top getting 10 points, 7 for second, 5 third, 3 fourth, and 1 point for fifth most impressive.

Some notable names of past winners include Lionel Messi in 2005, with eventual Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas winning it the next year. All time leading goal scorer for Manchester City, Sergio Aguero has also won the award. The two most recent winners of the award were Matthijs de Ligt in 2018 and Joao Felix in 2019. Interestingly, de Ligt is the only defender to win the award since its inception.

Of course, not every winner has turned out successful. Mario Balotelli, Anderson, Alexandre Pato and Rafael van der Vaart are all examples of players that, while talented and successful on their own, did not live up to the expectations of the various newspapers at the time. As for winners like de Ligt, Felix and 2016's Renato Sanches, only time will tell how successful those predictions were.