Barcelona midfielder Pedri won the 2021 Golden Boy award after playing a starring role for club and country.
The award is handed out by Italian newspaper Tuttosport. The Golden Boy is an award that is given by sports journalists to a young footballer playing in Europe perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year (two halves to two separate seasons). All nominees must be under the age of 21 and play in a European nation’s top tier.
Who are the past Golden Boy Winners? Share your favorites.
2020 Golden Boy:
1st: Erling Haaland
2nd: Ansu Fati
2021 Golden Boy:
2nd: Jude Bellingham
FC Barcelona Borussia Dortmund
Well deserved win!
Pedri won by an absolute mile from Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. Pedri got 318 points against 119 for Bellingham and apparently “never in the history of the Golden Boy trophy has there been such a gigantic gap.”
The 18-year-old becomes just the second Barca player, after Lionel Messi, to land the trophy.
Pedri enjoyed a stellar rise since signing for the Catalan giants from Las Palmas in the summer of 2020. He’s become not just a regular but a key player for Barca and Spain, winning the Copa del Rey and picking up a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Barcelona moved to secure Pedri’s long-term future recently. The teenager agreed a contract until 2026 with a €1 billion release clause in October.
Golden Boy winners since 2003:
Rafael van der Vaart is the inaugural award winner.
Pedri is the latest 2021 award winner.
Alexandre Pato - 2009 Winner
Pato was crowned the Golden Boy winner in 2009 after enjoying an incredible start to his AC Milan career.
However, injuries began to take their toll and the striker returned to his native Brazil in 2013 before making a brief return to Europe with Chelsea and Villarreal.
Raheem Sterling - 2014 Winner
Sterling announced himself to the world with a string of excellent displays for Liverpool as the Reds narrowly missed out on the Premier League title in 2014.
The winger went on to join Manchester City for £50million in 2015 but endured a difficult debut season at the Etihad.
Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, he became one of the most dangerous attackers in the Premier League, winning three league titles.
Kylian Mbappe - 2017 Winner
Mbappe burst onto the scene with Monaco but had already agreed to join PSG for €180million before picking up the award in 2017.
He has continued to go from strength to strength in Ligue 1, scoring over 180 career goals.
The France international also led his country to World Cup success in 2018, becoming the first teenager since Pele to score in the final.
After getting off to a flyer with Borussia Dortmund following his move from Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland was handed the award in 2020.
That momentum has continued ever since and he now has 70 goals in 69 games for the German club.
It’s a truly remarkable record for a 21-year-old. We dread to think how good the big Norwegian might be in a few years.
Paul Pogba was named the 2013 Golden Boy after winning the individual award with Juventus in 2013, one year after his tumultuous departure from Manchester United.
In 2016, the Frenchman returned to Old Trafford for a world-record sum, but he has struggled to find his best form at United consistently.
Pogba did, however, played a significant role in France’s 2018 World Cup victory.
Joao Felix has it all in terms of ability and potential.
In 2019, the Portuguese forward, who had won the Golden Boy award, moved to Atletico Madrid from Benfica for a staggering £113 million fee.
The 20-year-old showed flashes of class during his first season at Wanda Metropolitano, but this season he’s taken it to a whole new level.
Cesc Fabregas, the 2006 Golden Boy award winner, has had a stellar career, winning titles with clubs such as Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea.
He was also a vital player of the Spain team that won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
Fabregas, 33, has been with AS Monaco since January 2019.
Sergio Aguero has scored more Premier League goals than only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, and Andy Cole since joining Manchester City in 2011.
Aguero won the Golden Boy award in 2007 with Atletico Madrid.
When he retires, he will be hailed as one of the best forwards of his generation.
Matthijs de Ligt - 2018 Golden Boy Award Winner
This young centre back is a Dutch professional footballer who is currently for Serie A club Juventus and the Netherlands national team.
In March 2018 he was named youngest captain of Ajax. This year, Ajax reached the semifinals of UEFA Champions league by defeating many big teams like Real Madrid. They achieved this feat after more than 20 years.
In addition to all this he is the first and only defender to get this award!
Here are some astonishing plays by him -
Lionel Messi - 2005 Golden Boy Award Winner
Leo Messi won the Golden Boy award in 2005. The Barcelona man was named winner of the Golden Boy title over Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi’s stats in 2004-05 weren’t particularly impressive, as he made 9 appearances for Barcelona as a 17-year-old, scoring once. However, he burst onto the scene the next season, making 25 appearances while registering 8 goals and 5 assists.
After that, there was no looking back for Messi.
Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record 7 Ballon d’Or awards, a record 6 European Golden Shoes, and in 2020 was named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team.
Until leaving the club in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey titles and 4 UEFA Champions Leagues.
A prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (474), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (192), a La Liga season (21) and the Copa América (17).
Messi also holds the record for most international goals by a South American male (80). Messi has scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country, and has the most goals by a player for a single club.