England’s Jude Bellingham is the hot favourite to win the Golden Boy title in the 21st year of the annual award for the best Under-21 player in Europe.
The 20-year-old has been in outstanding form for club side Real Madrid and the Three Lions, and has even received the backing of legions of fans of pop star Taylor Swift in the public vote.
The winner is decided by journalists’ votes, with each judge giving 10 points to their first pick, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth.
Italian newspaper Tuttosport established the award, which is now presented jointly between several European publications including Bild, L’Equipe, France Football, Marca, Mundo Deportivo, The Times, De Telegraaf and A Bola.
Bellingham’s fellow nominees to have made the shortlist include record-breaking Barcelona prodigy Lamine Yamal and new Manchester United signing Rasmus Hojlund, who has followed up his prolific form for Denmark by becoming the early joint-top scorer in the UEFA Champions League.
The Sporting News has you covered for the Golden Boy award results, as well as details of how to follow the announcement.
The full list of results will be published here when they are announced on November 17, 2023.
The press conference to announce the winner takes place at the Sala Trasparenza del Palazzo della Regione Piemonte in Turin and starts at 3 p.m. local time.
Here’s how that time translates across some of the major territories:
The announcement will be made live on Tuttosport’s website.
An initial longlist of 100 players was drawn up, all of whom met the requirement of playing for a top-flight European club at Under-21 age.
Here are the stars to have made the shortlist.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi, who was only longlisted this time, won the award in 2022, following in the footsteps of an illustrious lineup including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
As those names might suggest, forwards have most often won the award — on 10 occasions —while midfielders have taken the honour nine times.
Matthijs de Ligt is the only defender to have prevailed, in 2018, and no goalkeeper has ever done so.
In order to qualify for the Golden Boy award, players must play for a team in a top division in one of the top 25 leagues in Europe based on UEFA coefficient rankings as of May 2023 (such as the English Premier League).
To win in 2023, they must also have been born on January 1, 2003, or later (in other words, they need to be under 21 years of age this year).
The award is then voted for by journalists across Europe. These votes are worth a certain number of points, rather like the Ballon d’Or: 10 points to a journalist’s first choice, seven for their second, five for their third, three for their fourth, and one for their fifth. Those points are then tallied to determine the final rankings, and the winner.
To help the journalists make their selection, 2023 saw the implementation of the ‘Golden Boy Index’. This is a data- and analytics-driven tool, powered by Football Benchmark, that those casting their votes can use to assess who has been the best Under-21 player this year. This system takes into account sporting performance, amount of playing time, and the strength of the team for which the player plays. Performances for national sides and in UEFA competitions are used for a ‘bonus metric’. The ranking is based on games played between the start of the 2022 World Cup (which began on November 22 last year) and October 2, 2023.
There is a separate ‘Golden Boy Web’ award in 2023, which is voted for by members of the public. Jude Bellingham is comfortably top of that poll.