Golden Boy 2019: Ranking the Best 10 Youngsters Nominated for the Coveted Award

​The Golden Boy is an annual award for the best Under-21 player in Europe, with the shortlist of 100 players selected by sports journalist from around Europe.

Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero are the most notable winners of this prestigious award, with Matthijs de Ligt the most recent to be voted as the winner. The Dutchman was the only defender to have scooped the award and will be highly unlikely to win the award this year as nobody has won it back-to-back.


Tuttosport, the Italian publication who established the award back in 2003, have released the list of 100 nominees for the 2019 title, which will be shortened down after a fan vote.

Here are the 10 best players ranked from worst to best on the Golden Boy shortlist.


Phil Foden

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM

The 19-year-old Englishman has blossomed under manager Pep Guardiola and has earned his trust to feature more prominently in the Premier League throughout the second half of Manchester City's title-winning campaign. 

Contributing nine goals from the centre of midfield, most of them from off the bench, is highly impressive. With David Silva getting older, Foden will look to play an even bigger role next year for the Citizens in their pursuit of retaining the Premier League and going for a first Champions League title.


Callum Hudson-Odoi

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-BURNLEY

Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi has been one of the shining lights in what has been a difficult season for the Blues. The fact that Bayern Munich were willing to pay £40m for the player before he even had five Premier League starts shows the quality that the tricky winger has. 

Despite the season ending in disappointment for him as he picked up an Achilles injury, Hudson-Odoi showed his quality throughout the campaign especially in the Europa League where he contributed to six goals in nine games, as Chelsea went all the way to end the season with the title.


Moise Kean

Moise Kean

The 19-year-old had a breakout season at Juventus, scoring seven goals in 17 appearances for the Bianconeri. He suffered horrible racist abuse against Cagliari after scoring but he has not looked back since as he managed to score the winner against Milan in the next game.

Averaging a goal every 94 minutes is an extraordinary ratio for any striker but it is highly unlikely he will continue scoring at that rate.


Vinícius Júnior

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-REAL BETIS

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid forked out a mouth-watering £40m for a relatively unknown Brazilian. However, he has proved doubters wrong with his electrifying pace and silky dribbling. 

In a season where Los Blancos were in a state of disarray, the 18-year-old was a dependable performer, contributing to 15 goals in all competitions before ending his season prematurely with an injury.


Gianluigi Donnarumma

UC Sampdoria v AC Milan - Serie A

The 20-year-old once again had a solid year at Milan keeping 13 clean sheets in Serie A. Having been the starter for the Rossoneri since the age of 17, ​Donnarumma has become an indispensable member of the squad and nearly took his team to the Champions League. 

Milan had the joint third best defence in Serie A last season and the keeper played a massive part in that. The scary thing is that the best is yet to come and with each passing year, he will gain more invaluable experience.


Nicolò Zaniolo

Nicolo Zaniolo

Roma midfielder Zaniolo was awarded the Serie A young player of the season award and was well deserving of it, showing maturity beyond his years in central midfield. 

Having been brought in by Monchi for peanuts from Inter last summer, ‎I Giallorossi have found a gem that can replace departing legend Daniele De Rossi quite adequately. Zaniolo even chipped with four goals in Serie A, with the best being an exquisite move that ended with a chip against Fiorentina.


João Félix

FBL-POR-LIGA-BENFICA-SANTA CLARA

Rumours of Atletico Madrid and Manchester City ​willing to pay £105m to bring in Félix showcases the incredible quality that the Benfica star has produced throughout the season.

Touted as the next Portugal prodigy, the 19-year-old has shown that he has brilliant creativity and an eye for goal. This is highlighted by the fact that Félix had an unbelievably productive season having contributed to 31 goals. 

Europe's elite are flocking for his signature and would likely have to get the deal done as soon as possible as his price is likely to increase in the following seasons.


Kai Havertz

FBL-EURO-2020-QUALIFIER-GER-TRAINING-MATCH

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Havertz had an astonishing season, scoring 17 goals from the centre of midfield. With ​Champion​s​ League football seeming to be out of reach in January, the German produced some ridiculous performances and goals to secure a place in Europe's elite competition on the last day of the season. 

The 20-year-old has been called a mixture of Mesut Özil and Dele Alli and has the potential to be the best modern attacking midfielder in the world - which is why Bayern are desperate to sign him.


Matthijs De Ligt

FBL-EUR-C1-AJAX-TOTTENHAM

Last year's Golden Boy winner, the Ajax defender has progressed to another level this year. He led Ajax to their first Eredivisie title in five years as well as the Champions League semi-finals where they were on the cusp of making it all the way but lost to Spurs with the last kick of the game. 

His leadership, composure and maturity are akin to that of a veteran defender and the 19-year-olds signature has been highly coveted by Europe's elite, with Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United and Bayern Munich all trying to secure one of the best defenders in the world.


Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho

The frontrunner for the Golden Boy award is, by far, England international and Dortmund winger Sancho. Havertz had a great breakout campaign but there is no comparison when you see the output the 19-year-old has produced this year. 

His breathtaking dribbling and unbelievable vision resulted in 32 goal contributions in 43 games in a top-five league, which is virtually unheard of. Manchester United have been heavily linked to the Englishman and if he is able to carry on the output and light up the world with his performances, there is no reason why Sancho can't be on the level of Neymar and Eden Hazard in a few years' time.


Source : 90min

Source: 90min