2020 Golden Boy Award: Top 5 contenders
- A look at the top five frontrunners for the 2020 Golden Boy Award.
- The Award is given to the most impressive footballer playing in Europe, aged 21 or under, during a calendar year.
The Golden Boy Award is bestowed on the best footballer playing in Europe, aged 21 or under, for their achievements during a calendar year. Rafael Van der Vaart was the first winner of the Golden Boy Award in 2003. A plethora of players like Cesc Fabregas (2006), Mario Gotze (2011), Paul Pogba (2013) and Kylian Mbappe (2017) have won major international trophies like the FIFA World Cup or Euro's after winning the coveted Golden Boy Award.
Started by Italian outlet Tuttosport, the Golden Boy Award committee now comprises representatives from The Times (UK), De Telegraaf (Netherlands), L'Équipe, France Football (both France), Marca, Mundo Deportivo (Spain), Bild (Germany), Blick (Switzerland), A Bola (Portugal), Ta Nea (Greece) and Sport Express (Russia) in making the shortlist and final rankings.
Tuttosport released the list of the top 100 players in line to win this year's Golden Boy Award, with the likes of Ansu Fati, Mason Greenwood, Alphonso Davies and Callum Hudson-Odoi earning nominations. But it's Borussia Dortmund's attacking duo of Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland that headline this year's Golden Boy Award list.
With the major leagues across Europe beginning to resume, there's a lot of football still left to be played this year, which means more opportunities for the 2020 Golden Boy Award nominees to make a case for themselves.
On that note, we take a look at the five players who look the most likely to win the 2020 Golden Boy Award.
Top five contenders for the 2020 Golden Boy Award:
#5: Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
There's always a lot of hype surrounding anyone labelled as 'the next Messi'. Many players can crumble under this pressure but from what we've seen so far, Ansu Fati seems like the real deal. He's got five goals in the Spanish top flight this term.
The 17-year-old is one of the greatest products to have come out of the La Masia academy in recent years and has seamlessly integrated into the Barcelona first-team. With fixtures aplenty in the next two months, Fati has a role to play, even if it is from the bench at times.
The 2020 Golden Boy Award nominee is Barcelona's youngest goal-scorer in La Liga and the Champions League and has a bright future ahead. The teenager is a future contender for the coveted Ballon d'Or.
#4: Dejan Kulusevski (Parma)
Of the many deals that were completed in the January transfer window, Juventus' £ 30 million signing of 19-year-old Swedish midfielder Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta is the one that might've gone under the radar.
The player who usually operates as an attacking midfielder has been on loan at Parma since the beginning of the season. Kulusevski has scored five goals this season, while also picking up seven assists, making him the player with the highest goal involvement with I Crociati.
He has already earned a cap for his national side. With a lot of football remaining in the calendar years, we can only expect the 2020 Golden Boy Award nominee's stock to go up, as he looks to emulate the likes of Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Paul Pogba as winners of the coveted award.
#3: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
It is a rarity to see defenders making waves in top-flight league competitions. But in the modern game, a new breed of defenders has come up who can run up and down the pitch and are as pivotal as the attackers.
One such up-and-coming player is Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies, the 19-year-old left-back, who now owns the record of the fastest player in Bundesliga history, having been clocked at 36.51 km/h.
Matthijs de Ligt (2018) is the only defender to have won the Golden Boy Award. So the chances of Davies winning the coveted award this year appear slim.
Nevertheless, Davies has been the breakout star in the German top-flight this season. One can also say that he deserves the title of Bundesliga Rookie Award ahead of the much-celebrated Erling Haaland.
#2: Erling Halaand (Borussia Dortmund)
It would be hard to find a 19-year-old more widely known than Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and for good reason. The Norwegian striker has already scored 13 goals in the Bundesliga since arriving in Germany in January, while his 10 goals in the Champions League make him the second-highest goal-scorer in the continental tournament this season.
Last year, Joao Felix won the Golden Boy Award after an amazing season with Benfica and a good start with Atletico Madrid having scored 15 goals and nine assists. On that note, Haaland appears to be one of the foremost frontrunners to win this year's Golden Boy Award.
Well, there are only two players arguably better than Haaland in his age group: one is Kylian Mbappe and the other is his friend, teammate and biggest competitor for the 2020 European Golden Boy Award, Jadon Sancho.
#1: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
As the saying goes, it ain't over until it's over and that is especially relevant in football where games aren't over until the final whistle. But with the kind of season that Jadon Sancho has had, he is one of the prime candidates to win the 2020 European Golden Boy Award.
Sancho has scored 19 goals for Die Borussen this campaign and on top of that he has also provided 18 assists. He is one of the top wingers in the game already, with his pace, exquisite skills and quick feet making him almost unplayable at times.
Last year, Sancho secured the second most votes in the 2019 Golden Boy Award rankings, falling narrowly behind Joao Felix who secured a £113m move to Atletico Madrid after a sensational season with Benfica.