What is the Golden Boy Award? Everything you need to know about this prestigious award

What is the Golden Boy Award? Everything you need to know about this prestigious award

Lenah Ann
June 5, 2023 at 8:18 AM

What is the Golden Boy Award? It is an award often given to a young male football player competing in Europe and is thought by sports journalists and management to have been the most impressive throughout a complete calendar year.

What is the Golden Boy Award?
Robert Lewandowski (L) holds the La Liga Santander Golden Boot Award and Gavi (R) of FC Barcelona holds the La Liga Santander Golden Boy Award at Spotify Camp Nou on 31 December 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Pedro Salado
Source: Getty Images

The award is highly regarded because numerous winners of the prestigious award have gone on to have some of the most successful and decorated careers afterward. Not to mention their skyrocketing fame.

The Golden Boy Award's history

The Italian sports publication Tuttosport created the award in 2003, and Ajax sensation Rafael van der Vaart was presented with the first trophy. All nominees must be under 21 and compete in a top-tier European league; historically, the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, or Ligue 1 have produced the most winners.

Once a player achieves Golden Boy status, they are only eligible to receive the award once, which ensures that the spotlight can shift to other promising young athletes who merit recognition. This prevents, for instance, a star 17-year-old from winning the prize three years in a row.

The prize recipient is the participant the jury selects as the sport's most promising young talent. But can you win the Golden Boy award twice?

How is the Golden Boy Award decided, and who votes?

Voting is used to choose the award winner. Each voter awards the player they believe to be the most deserving of 10 points; the following five players receive 7, 5, 3, and 1 points, respectively.

Voting participants are sports writers from a variety of reputable publications around Europe, including Bild (Germany), l'Equipe (France), and Marca (Spain).

When is the Golden Boy trophy awarded?

Every year, a shortlist of candidates is compiled, with the final list of contenders often being accessible around October and the award ceremony usually taking place in November.

Who has won the golden boy award?

Some athletes that received the award as youngsters and then rose to fame internationally include Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, and Sergio Aguero. Fascinatingly, Cristiano Ronaldo was never selected as the Golden Boy of European football.

Other notable names can be found among the previous winners. However, several other winners still need to fulfill their full potential.

Spain has produced four winners, which is the most. With Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial of France leading the way with three, Gavi joined Pedri, Cesc Fabregas, and Isco to put Spain ahead of them.

Can you win the Golden Boy Award twice?
Pedri Gonzalez of Barcelona celebrates his Golden Boy trophy during the La Liga Santander match against Elche CF at Camp Nou Stadium on 18 December 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Xavier Bonilla
Source: Getty Images

That makes going back over Golden Boy's past an exciting topic since it shows that breaking out at a young age is only sometimes a sign of long-term success through a real mix of names and outcomes.

So, which two players won the Golden Boy Award before Messi? Keep scrolling to find out.

  • 2003 - Rafael van der Vaart (Ajax)
  • 2004 - Wayne Rooney (Everton/Manchester United)
  • 2005 - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
  • 2006 - Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
  • 2007 - Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)
  • 2008 - Anderson (Manchester United)
  • 2009 - Alexandre Pato (AC Milan)
  • 2010 - Mario Balotelli (Inter/Manchester City)
  • 2011 - Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund)
  • 2012 - Isco (Malaga)
  • 2013 - Paul Pogba (Juventus)
  • 2014 - Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
  • 2015 - Anthony Martial (Monaco/Manchester United)
  • 2016 - Renato Sanches (Benfica/Bayern Munich)
  • 2017 - Kylian Mbappe (Monaco/Paris Saint-Germain)
  • 2018 - Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
  • 2019 - Joao Felix (Benfica/Atletico Madrid)
  • 2020 - Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
  • 2021 - Pedri (Barcelona)
  • 2022 – Gavi (Barcelona)

Who was the Golden Boy winner in 2022?

The reigning champion in 2022 was Barcelona's Gavi.

  • Full name: Pablo Martín Páez Gavira
  • Date of birth: August 5, 2004
  • Place of birth: Los Palacios y Villafranca, Spain
  • Jersey: 30
  • Position: Central midfielder
  • Current team: Barcelona

Midfielder Gavi of Barcelona was named the 2022 Golden Boy on October 21, 2022. After Pedri in 2021 and Lionel Messi in 2005, he was the third player from Barcelona to win the trophy.

Following a breakthrough season for club and nation in which he set a record for the youngest goalscorer in Spain's history, Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Golden Boy award for 2022.

He topped three other excellent finalists, Jamal Musiala of Bayern Munich, Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund, and Eduardo Camavinga of Real Madrid. He received the title after his club teammate Pedri, a midfielder, who had won it in 2021.

What is the Golden Bell Award?

It is an annual Taiwanese-based television and radio production award that is presented in October or November each year by the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development.

Manchester United and Barcelona have had a stint of the most Golden Boy award winners and champions. With 10 of the previous 20 winners being offensive talents, forward players typically take centre stage when such honours are credited.

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Lenah Ann
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