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Golden Boy 2021: The Nominees, Favorites, Dates and Past Winners

Erling Haaland, Golden Boy
Source: Twitter/@ErlingHaaland

Ace Football gives you a guide on everything there is to know about the 2021 Golden Boy award. From the list of nominees to how the winner is decided, we got you covered.

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It’s that time of the year again where the annual awards are handed out to acknowledge the very best players across the last 12 months.

One prize up for grabs is the Golden Boy. Perhaps it’s not as prestigious as the Ballon d’Or itself, but this award is an important stepping stone for a young footballer’s career. It can also offer a glimpse into the future, with past winners including the likes of Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

So, here at Ace Football, we’ve gathered details of everything you need to know about the 2021 Golden Boy award.

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What is the Golden Boy?

Established by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, the Golden Boy is an annual prize awarded to the best young football player in the world.

To be eligible for the Golden Boy award, footballers must be under the age of 21 and compete in a top-tier European division – such as the Premier League, La Liga, or even the Dutch Eredivisie.

Typically, a player can only win the award once in their career.

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Golden Boy Nominees 2021

On 15 October 2021, Tuttosport – founder of the award – reduced the list of candidates from 100 to 20 players from 10 countries.

Below is the final shortlist of Golden Boy nominees.

PlayerClubCountry
Charles De KetelaereClub BruggeBelgium
RodrygoReal MadridBrazil
Jude BellinghamBorussia DortmundEngland
Mason GreenwoodManchester UnitedEngland
Bukayo SakaArsenalEngland
Eduardo CamavingaReal MadridFrance
William SalibaMarseilleFrance
Karim AdeyemiRB SalzburgGermany
Jamal MusialaBayern MunichGermany
Florian WirtzBayer LeverkusenGermany
Daniel MaldiniAC MilanItaly
Roberto PiccoliAtalantaItaly
Ryan GravenberchAjaxNetherlands
Jurrien TimberAjaxNetherlands
Nuno MendesPSGPortugal
PedriBarcelonaSpain
GaviBarcelonaSpain
Bryan GilTottenhamSpain
Yeremi PinoVillarrealSpain
Gio ReynaBorussia DortmundUnited States

Who are the favorites?

Barcelona midfielder Pedri is widely considered the favorite to win the 2021 Golden Boy. The 18-year-old broke into the Barcelona team, quickly becoming a regular starter. He even won the Euro 2020 Young Player of the Tournament and an Olympic Gold medal with Spain.

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If Pedri wins, he’ll become the third Spanish player to win the Golden Boy after Cesc Fabregas (2006) and Isco Alcaron (2012).

Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), and Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) are also in contention.

How is the award decided?

A panel consisting of sports journalists, from reputable media outlets for instance, vote on their preferred nominees. The voters nominate five players using a system that awards: 10 points to their winner, 7 to their runner-up, 5 to third, 3 to fourth, and 1 point for fifth.

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Aside from founders Tuttosport, the newspapers also represented include:

  • L’Équipe (France).
  • Marca (Spain).
  • Bild (Germany).
  • A Bola (Portugal).
  • The Times (United Kingdom).
  • Telegraaf (Netherlands).
  • France Football (France).
  • Blick (Switzerland).

Tuttosport offers fans the chance to pick their favorite in an online survey on its website. While it has no direct influence on the final result, it can help influence the judges into deeming a winner. At the time of writing, over 11796 fans have cast a vote.

Golden Boy award 2021 date: When and where will the winner be announced?

Tuttosport will announce the winner of the 2021 Golden Boy in an award ceremony on Monday 13 December in Turin, Italy.

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Who won the Golden Boy in 2020?

Borussia Dortmund and Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland won the 2020 Golden Boy award aged 20. Barcelona attacker Ansu Fati came second, with Bayern Munich full-back Alphonso Davies coming in third to round-off the top three spots.

As Haaland celebrated his 21st birthday in July he, therefore, isn’t eligible for the Golden Boy award any longer.

List of past Golden Boy winners

PlayerClubCountryYear
Rafael van der VaartAjaxNetherlands2003
Wayne RooneyManchester UnitedEngland2004
Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina2005
Cesc FàbregasArsenalSpain2006
Sergio AgueroAtletico MadridArgentina2007
AndersonManchester UnitedBrazil2008
Alexandre PatoAC MilanBrazil2009
Mario BalotelliManchester CityItaly2010
Mario GotzeBorussia DortmundGermany2011
IscoMalagaSpain2012
Paul PogbaJuventusFrance2013
Raheem SterlingLiverpoolEngland2014
Anthony MartialManchester UnitedFrance2015
Renato SanchesBayern MunichPortugal2016
Kylian MbappePSGFrance2017
Matthijs de LigtAjaxNetherlands2018
Joao FelixAtletico MadridPortugal2019
Erling HaalandBorussia DortmundNorway2020

Aside from the Golden Boy, players will also be competing for the Ballon d’Or and The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards.

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France Football will announce the winner of the Ballon d’Or in Paris on November 29, while FIFA will declare its player of the year in December. However, no exact date or location is yet to be confirmed.