The Golden Boy award is given to the best player under the age of 21 in a European nation’s top tier. Some all-time greats like Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero have won the award and here the five players with the best chance of winning the prestigious award in 2019.
#5. Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven)
Four of the top five contenders for the Golden Boy award were straight forward choices but picking the fifth contender was not an easy task but after careful deliberation, the spot went to Donyell Malen of PSV Eindhoven.
Malen spent his formative years at the academy of Ajax and Arsenal before joining PSV’s academy in 2017 from the North London Club. He spent his first season back in the Netherlands with PSV’s reserve side and only broke into the first team in the 2018/19 season.
Last season, Malen scored 11 goals in 42 appearances for the Eredivisie club but in the ongoing season, the versatile forward has hit greater heights. He has already scored 16 goals in only 18 games across all competitions.
The 20-year-old also made his debut for the national team this year against Germany. He came off the bench when the score was 2-2 and went on to score the winning goal for his side.
#4. Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Bayer Leverkusen have some fantastic young players in their squad at the moment but the most exciting player is undoubtedly Kai Havertz.
The 20-year-old midfielder had an outstanding 2018/19 season and has carried that form forward into the ongoing season. If he keeps it up, Leverkusen won’t be able to fend off interest from top European clubs for long.
In 2018/19, Havertz scored 20 goals and provided seven assists in 42 games across all competitions from midfield. In the process, he became the highest-scoring teenager in a single Bundesliga season, the second-youngest player of all-time to score 25 Bundesliga goals and he was also runner up to Marco Reus for the German Footballer of the Year award.
Havertz has made seven appearances for Germany so far and his only goal for the senior team came against Argentina in a recent friendly.
#3. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Matthijs de Ligt is the most recent winner of the Golden Boy award and he has the opportunity to become the first player ever to win the award more than once.
De Ligt was in sensational form in 2019 as he helped Ajax win the domestic double and also reach the UEFA Champions League semifinal. He even scored the winning goal for Ajax against Juventus in the quarterfinal. Besides his achievements at the club level, he also helped the national team reach the final of the UEFA Nations League.
The 20-year-old moved to Juventus in the summer and has formed a potent partnership with Leonardo Bonucci in Georgio Chiellini’s absence. De Ligt’s wonderful year was also rewarded with a place in the FIFPro World XI.
#2. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
In a league with Real Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico Madrid have the most expensive incoming transfer after they spent €126 million on Joao Felix this summer.
Felix became a crucial player for Benfica’s senior side only in the second half of the 2018/19 season but he did enough to convince Atletico Madrid to spend a record fee for him. The 19-year-old played 43 games for Benfica last season and scored 20 goals. He helped them win the Premiera Liga and was named the Best Young Player of the Year.
The Portuguese international has started brightly at his new club and already has three goals and one assist in all competitions.
#1. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Jadon Sancho has quickly become one of the most important players at Borussia Dortmund and he is constantly linked with a potential return to the Premier League for a hefty fee.
Sancho scored 13 goals and provided 19 assists in only 43 games across all competitions in the 2018/19 season. He was the highest assists provider in the Bundesliga last season and he leads the assists chart this season also with five to his name in only seven games.
The 19-year-old is now a key member of England’s promising side and has two goals and three assists for the Three Lions in only ten appearances.
Sancho is the most likely candidate to win the award this year and if he does, he will become the third English player to win the award after Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling.