Thu 25 November 2021 | 15:30

All Golden Boy Winners

As Barcelona star, Pedri has been crowned winner of the 2021 Golden Boy award, he is honoured to follow in the footsteps of some of the most elite players of the current and previous generations. So what better than to count down All Golden Boy Winners to fathom out how a great feat he made in 2021.

Barcelona and Spain wonder boy Pedri becomes the 19th winner of the prestigious Golden Boy award for 2021, established by Italian publication Tuttosport, who grant it to the top European-based player under the age of 21.

Among 40 journalists voting for this year's award, 26 of them ranked Pedri first, while another nine, landed him on the second spot and three put him third. That is to say, only two of the journalists voting, didn't have the gifted midfielder on their podium.

To be specific, the 18-year-old secured 24 of the 40 first-place votes and 318 points in total so as to become Golden Boy 2021 winner.

This means that he amazingly set a new record in Golden Boy history when he easily finished in pole position (199 points) ahead of the second spot, grabbed by Borussia Dortmund and England star

Jude Bellingham


In Golden Boy 2021 ranking, third place was allocated to one of the Golden Boy nominees 2021 from Germany, Jamal Musiala of Bayern Munich who is a dazzling 18-year-old attacking star.

The fourth position of the

Golden Boy 2021 ranking

was given to another German star,

Florian Wirtz

who scored seven goals in 14 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen this season and can star anywhere across the forward line despite being just 18 years old.

Moreover, one of the other Golden Boy nominees 2021 was the Barcelona gem, Gavi, finishing fifth in the Golden Boy 2021 ranking. It is to be said that Gavi and Pedri are expected to be pillar parts of Barcelona and Spain for the next decade.

An overview of

Golden Boy nominees 2021

who became finalists:



Jude Bellingham

(Borussia Dortmund)

Jamal Musiala

(Bayern Munich)

Florian Wirtz

(Bayer Levekusen)



Other 15 finalists: 

  • Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)

  • Karim Adeyemi (RB Salzburg)

  • Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid)

  • Charles de Ketelaere (Club Brugge)

  • Bryan Gil (Tottenham)

  • Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)

  • Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)

  • Daniel Maldini (AC Milan)

  • Nuno Mendes (PSG)

  • Roberto Piccoli (Atalanta)

  • Yeremi Pino (Villarreal)

  • Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

  • Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

  • William Saliba (Arsenal)

  • Jurrien Timber (Ajax)

As Pedri was announced to be the Golden Boy 2021 winner, he became only the second Barça player to ever earn the prize, after Lionel Messi in 2005. While two other Spaniards, Cesc Fàbregas (2006) and Isco (2012), have been previously awarded the trophy too.

Whereas the Italian outlet Tuttosport have handed over the award since 2003, its previous winners were

Lionel Messi

, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and most recently Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, just to name a few. But in case you are interested, here is the full account of All Golden Boy Winners.

All Golden Boy Winners

Come along with us to dig deep among All Golden Boy Winners.

Rafael van der Vaart (2003)

The 20-year-old

Van der Vaart

had been turned into a rising star in the Netherlands, who starred three full seasons for Ajax and became the first winner of the inaugural Golden Boy prize back in 2003.

While the Dutch playmaker stayed in his first club Ajax before joining Hamburger SV in 2005, he went on to move to the Spanish club Real Madrid in 2008 and after his two-year span with them, he joined Tottenham, where he became a fan favourite.

With netting 25 goals in his 109 caps for the Netherlands national team, he also spent a span of his career at Real Betis, Midtjylland, and Esbjerg fB until he became retired in 2018.

Wayne Rooney (2004)

As one of the most gifted teenagers in the history of English football, Wayne Rooney managed to come ahead of Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronald for the Golden Boy award after a glorious final year at Everton and the impressive feats he made for England at

Euro 2004


At his span with Manchester United, he become their all-time leading goalscorer over the course of the next 13 years. Not to mention that he also smashed Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record so as to become England’s record goalscorer.

While he came back to Everton for one season in 2017, he also went on to feature for DC United and Derby County until he became retired in January 2021 in order to become the Rams’ permanent manager.

Lionel Messi (2005)

Then a long-haired 18 years old gem, had dazzled for Barcelona just a year earlier from the time he succeeded to become one of the

All Golden Boy Winners

back in 2005.

After he grabbed the prize he went on to prove he is arguably the greatest footballer of all time, as he has exceeded all expectations by making breathtaking feats during 15 years of his illustrious career.

In this period, he spectacularly racked up around 700 goals, 10 La Liga titles, 4 Champions League and 6 Ballon d’Ors just to name a few.

But Much to many people's consternation, while he moved to

Paris Saint-Germain

in 2021, he would probably fail to grab World Cup before his retirement and Qatar 2022 would be conceivably his final opportunity.

Cesc Fabregas (2006)

Fabregas who was the successor of Messi and another product of Barcelona had become a shining light in Arsenal after he debuted as a 16-year-old in 2003.

As he went on to make his spectacular feats at Arsenal, when he was 19 years old he became honoured to be one of All Golden Boy Winner too.

While he stayed another five years with the Gunners, in 2011 he came back to Barca and won one La Liga title before joining Chelsea in 2014, winning two league titles with the Blues prior to heading to Monaco in January 2019 where he still Is featuring for them with three league titles to his name.

Sergio Aguero (2007)

After making an incredible feat in his debut season at Atletico Madrid, the 19-year-old was awarded Golden Boy Prize in 2007. As a true hero, he went on to help Atletico Madrid grab the Europa League in 2010 until he headed to Manchester City after a year.

It took not a long time for Manchester City’s first superstar signings in 2011, to earn an impressive triumph when the club won their first Premier League title in 2011-12 on the final day of the season.

The 9-year span of Manchester City's legend, saw him grab four league titles as well as become the club’s all-time leading scorer.

Aguero moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2021 yet he is expected to hang up his shoes at the age of 33 in the cope of a heart condition.

Anderson (2008)

While arguably one of the most highly-rated exciting young wingers, then called ‘the new Ronaldinho’ starred terrifically for FC Porto during the 2007/08 season, he managed to be included among All Golden Boys Winners.

But since joining Manchester United in 2007, he underwent injuries and inconsistency and as a result, his career had not been ignited to the point that he went down one of the most unfulfilled talents of his generation.

Afterwards, he left Old Trafford in 2015 and came back to Brazil with Internacional until he joined Turkish side Adana Demirspor in 2018, being eventually retired a year later at the age of 31.

Alexandre Pato (2009)

Being initially compared to the great Brazilian striker Ronaldo, the future superstar, Alexandre Pato, had burst out at

AC Milan

when he had netted 15 Serie A goals in the 2008-09 season at the age of 20 years old so as to win 2009 Golden Boy prize.

Be that as it may, Pato failed to live up to the hype as injuries and poor form led him to come back to Brazil until he went through a bad loan spell at Chelsea before heading to Villarreal Tianjin Quanjian and Sao Paulo. Moreover, he currently features in Orlando City of Major League Soccer.

Mario Balotelli (2010)

Following three years at Inter Milan, “Super Mario” headed to Man City in the summer of 2010 prior to grabbing the Golden Boy prize.

In his three-year span with Manchester City, he went on to make frequent controversial headlines and there he failed to make that much a spectacular feat, especially if his lack of form on the pitch is taken into account as well.

Then the Italian joined AC Milan, and after a year in 2014, he moved to Liverpool. He also went on to play for Nice, Marseille, Brescia, Monza and now, at the age of 31, he is featuring in Turkish Adana Demirspor.

Mario Gotze (2011)

Following that he impressed at Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga success in 2010/11, the 19-year-old Mario Gotze, managed to become one of the

All Golden Boy Winners


But his future did not appear to be that much bright in as much he did not fulfil the expectations and failed to be developed into a world-class playmaker.

This is because when he moved to Bayern Munich in 2013, he coped with a number of injuries and a nasty metabolic illness of myopathy.

Therefore he came back to Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and after his three-year span with

Bayern Munich

he joined PSV Eindhoven in 2020.

Yet, as a Gerrman international, he is honoured to be one of the few footballers in history to put away the winning goal in a World Cup final.

Isco (2012)

After that the Spanish playmaker of Valencia moved to Malaga, it took not a long time that he amazingly helped them reach the Champions League quarter-finals, which saw him grab the Golden Boy 2012 award at the age of 20 and also led him to be transferred to Real Madrid in 2013.

In his seven-year span at Real Madrid, he has made more than 200 appearances in La Liga and grabbed numerous honours, yet many assumed that had he moved elsewhere in recent years, he would achieve even more success than what he grabbed so far while he is still a regular at the Bernabeu.

Paul Pogba (2013)

Since Pogba just made three Premier League appearances at his stint with Manchester United, he headed to


where he quickly turned out to be one of the most dynamic and brilliant midfielders in the world.

Therefore it is of little surprise to see that his incredible debut campaign at Juventus saw him grab the Golden Boy award in 2013.

Following a further three years with the Bianconeri, he appeared to be the most expensive player in the world when he came back to United on a deal worth 89 million pounds in 2016.

While he has helped the Red Devils to earn success in the EFL Cup and Europa League, the 2018 World Cup winner is expected to leave United on a free transfer at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Raheem Sterling (2014)

When the 19-year-old talented star played a dazzling role in Liverpool’s title charge under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14, he became honoured to be the second Englishman after Rooney to win the Golden Boy award in 2014.

His incredible form with Liverpool also saw him secure a controversial big-money move to Manchester City in 2015.

There at the Etihad under Pep Guardiola, he has turned into an insane attacker who has grabbed three Premier League titles while he is still going on to make his collection even more illustrious.

Anthony Martial (2015)

Shortly after the Frenchman moved from Lyon to Monaco in 2013, he appeared to be a pillar member of the squad while they rose to the top of French football.

Then when he became the most expensive youngster in football history with his transfer to Manchester United from Monaco, it took not a long time that he picked up the honour to be included among All Golden Boy Winners as he came ahead of compatriot Kingsley Coman in 2015.

Yet, he is also considered to be among those players who failed to hit the heights expected of them in as much as notwithstanding his enjoying a solid 2019/20 season with 16 goals in all competitions, he has still failed to score with any regular fixtures until now.

Be that as it may, he is only 25 years old and there is a long way ahead of him to blossom into a world-class forward.

Renato Sanches (2016)

In the light of his incredible feat at Benfica during the 2015/16 campaign, Sanches became honoured to be the first Portuguese winner of the Golden Boy.

Likewise, as he was called up to Portugal’s squad for Euro 2016, he was named Young Player of the Tournament when Portugal ended up winning

Euro 2016


Yet when at the age of 19 years old, he made his own move to Bayern Munich, he did not live up to the hype and things got even worse as he was disastrously loaned to Swansea City in 2017.

Having said that, since he moved to Lille in 2019, to some extent he has managed to rebuild his career. Moreover, it is of little wonder to see the 24-year-old midfielder complete a move to another top European club in the upcoming future.

Kylian Mbappe (2017)

Following the spectacular feat Mbappe had made at his span in Monaco, he just soon joined Paris Saint-Germain when he received the honour of becoming the 2017 Golden Boy Winner.

Right after that at his loan span he helped them to become the Ligue 1 champions in 2017, he went on to make a staggering £158m permanent move to the club in 2018.

Since then, he has been widely recognized as one of the finest players in the world, winning three Ligue 1 titles along with becoming the Young Player of the Tournament while France won the 2018

World Cup


In order to make his career as glorious as possible, he just needs to grab at least one Ballon d’Or award, while he would not fulfil his potential unless he moves to Real Madrid or Liverpool at this stage of his career.

Matthijs de Ligt (2018)

The 19-year-old Ajax captain was a true sensation during the 2018-19 season when his club reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

But it was before this incredible feat that he picked up the honour of being the only defender in our list of the

All Golden Boy Winners

as he won the 2018 prize by edging out Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Therefore it is of little surprise that his jaw-dropping performance at Ajax attracted many eyes to him while he ended up moving to Juventus in July 2019 for an amount of €75 million. The 22-year-old Dutch defender is still featuring in Juventus piling up his collection of honours. 

Joao Felix (2019)

The Portuguese wonderboy has enjoyed an incredible first year in the Spanish capital, as he starred for Benfica during the 2018-19 season, helping them edge holders Liverpool out of the Champions League and as a result he ended up grabbing the 2019 Golden Boy prize.

In the same year, he secured a big-money move to Atletico Madrid, as they paid a hefty amount of €126 million to get Felix after they had lost

Antoine Griezmann

to Barcelona.

While he was expected to perform more impressively at Atletico, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would become a global superstar in the near future.

Erling Haaland (2020)

Ever since his transfer from FC Salzburg, the Norwegian powerhouse made a breathtaking performance in his debut season at German club Borussia Dortmund which saw him grab the 2020 Golden Boy award, coming ahead of Barcelona's

Ansu Fati


As one of the most gifted teenage strikers to emerge in years, The Terminator has scored a whopping 70 goals in his first 72 games for Borussia Dortmund across all competitions.

This is enough to call him a true legend in the game, who has been linked with transfers to almost all the top clubs in the world as he undoubtedly deserves to win the Ballon d’Or one day too.

Pedri (2021)

Being crowned the Golden Boy in 2021, Pedri became the first player ever to be nominated for all of the Ballon d’Or, Kopa Trophy and Golden Boy in the same year.

As a standout performer for Barça, he has played more games than anyone else in the 2020/21 season, having played a staggering 52 times across all competitions and this suffices to justify his becoming the Golden Boy 2021 winner.

After that the 18-year-old midfielder joined


from Las Palmas in 2020, he was terrific in his debut season for Barcelona in 2020-21.

He also went on to dazzle for his national side Spain as they reached the semifinals of EURO 2020 while he was named the ‘Best Young Player’ of the tournament and in the team of the tournament as well, notwithstanding his finishing without a goal or assist.

Not to mention that he won Olympic Silver with Spain in Tokyo while he recently signed a contract extension with Barcelona, to the end of assuring his stay until 2026 with a release clause of one billion euros. Having these in mind, there is no way that he could not be the

Golden Boy 2021 winner



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