While Lionel Messi and the likes are being awarded Golden Ball’s and Boots, the young guns in the game receive honors in the Golden Boy ceremony. The Golden Boy award is handed to the most impressive under 21-year-old footballer in European top tiers. The award was first organized by Italian newspaper Tuttosport in 2003 and has since become an institution followed all over the footballing world. The jury consists of representatives of Europe’s leading sports papers, such as l’Equipe, Marca and The Times.
This year the winner was Atletico Madrid’s Portuguese forward Joao Felix, who has also been touted the next Cristiano Ronaldo by many. Interestingly enough, Ronaldo never won the Golden Boy award, unlike his rival Leo Messi. Other winners include the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, but also not-so-successful names such as Brazilian, then Manchester United player Anderson, and fellow Portuguese Renato Sanches, whose career has been disappointing so far.
Joao Felix arrived to Madrid from Benfica only this July for £113M but has had an impressive start overall in the La LIga club. Despite scoring only two goals, Felix has run the show in Atletico’s offense and shown his immense talent in the Champions League as well, scoring once in three appearances. The wonderkid broke through last season, scoring 15 goals for Benfica in Portuguese top tier Liga NOS in his first senior season. More impressively, Felix also added nine assists and worked hard defensively as well – rare trait for a 19-year-old hot prospect. Felix made his Portugal debut in June and has featured six times since, without scoring goals. His rise has been fast, but there’s more to come from the “next Cristiano Ronaldo”.
While Joao Felix won the vote by a landslide 332 votes, European football is full of young talent behind the Portuguese. Second spot was taken by Dortmund’s English winger Jadon Sancho, who impressed already last season but has been utterly unstoppable this campaign: he has marked five goals and seven assists in 11 Bundesliga appearances. German Kai Haverz of Leverkusen finished third, Norway’s golden boy Erling Haaland of RB Salzburg took the fourth spot and completing the top five was Juventus’ Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt.
The young guns can be seen in action all over Europe, so don’t miss out on Dafabet offers of all the European top tiers!