2005 – Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Lionel Messi is an absolute superstar of the game and there is no need for an introduction or a description. Ever since ‘La Pulga’ debuted for Barcelona, he has mesmerised the world with his magical skills, complimented by silky playmaking skills and extraordinary goalscoring ability. Having won 4 Ballon d’Or’s to go with a glittering trophy cabinet that has 8 La Liga titles, 4 Champions League among other ‘trivial’ honours, it is no surprise why Messi is considered one of the greatest footballers to have graced the game.
Messi has broken almost all goalscoring records in his sights and is one of the most decorated footballers ever, all at a ‘young’ age of 29. He is still the star-man in Barcelona’s attack as he aims for further silverware. A ‘Golden Boy’ indeed.
2006 – Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Cesc Fabregas, who moved to Arsenal from Barcelona when he was 16 in 2003, is another superstar to have won the award during his early days. Fabregas was tipped for greatness ever since he broke into Arsenal’s first-team and was soon named the club captain at 21 years of age. His playmaking skills were starting to attract the big clubs and he moved to his former club Barcelona in 2011.
He couldn’t become a guaranteed starter though, thanks to the riches Barcelona had in midfield and soon signed for Chelsea in 2014. He played a significant role in the Blues’ title-winning campaign of 2014-15 and is still one of their key midfielders. On the International front, Fabregas was part of the Spain team that won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euro in 2008 and 2012.