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Euro 2024 Young Player of the Tournament Power Ranking: Yamal and Mainoo fight for top spot…

Several young ballers have been tipped to take Euro 2024 by storm this summer, but only one of them can be named the Young Player of the Tournament.

The perfect stage for a rising baller to make themselves famous with a string of star-studded performances, players up to the age of 22 and/or born on or after 1 January 2002 are eligible for the award, which is decided by a panel of technical observers.

We’re keeping a close eye on the young players in the running for the award at Euro 2024 and ranking the best performers after every round, based on their performance levels, clutch abilities and all-round importance to their nation. Read on to see how the players rank heading into the Euro 2024 final.

10. Riccardo Calafiori (=)

No Calafiori, no party.

Serie A enthusiasts will have known about Calafiori’s brilliance at the back for Bologna all season long, but for those who don’t regularly watch Italian football, the 22-year-old has stood out massively as one of the best individual defenders of the group stages at Euro 2024.

The best part? He only made his senior Italy debut a few weeks before the start of the tournament.

Unfortunately, the long-haired smooth operator missed Italy’s last 16 clash with Switzerland due to suspension.

The blow proved more costly than anyone could’ve imagined as Luciano Spalletti’s side – sans Calafiori – were comfortably knocked out by the Swiss.

9. Xavi Simons (Netherlands) (=)

Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands side weren’t the prettiest or most ruthless, but they’re making it work and Simons is key to that.

He saw a goal harshly disallowed against France in the group stages but made up for it with a stunning strike in the semis against England.

Simons wasn’t quite at the level he showed for RB Leipzig last season, but he showed enough to demonstrate his talent.

8. Pedri (Spain) (=)

Euro 2020’s Young Player of the Tournament, it’s a testament to Pedri’s freakish ability and just how young he was when he first broke through that he’s still in the hunt for this award three years on.

He wasn’t the standout star in matchday one, but Spain’s midfield would be significantly weaker if the 21-year-old hadn’t returned to fitness and made their squad. The Barcelona midfielder bagged an assist and maintained 100% pass completion in an hour’s work.

Unfortunately, a quietly influential tournament appears to be over for the midfielder, who was forced off injured early on as Spain knocked out Germany. A real shame.

7. Arda Guler (Turkey) (=)

The first player from Turkey to win the Champions League, injuries disrupted Guler’s first season at Real Madrid, thus it was unclear exactly how sharp he’d be coming into the tournament.

Those doubts were absolutely blasted into the top corner with the gusto of an undisputed, bona fide superstar to ensure his country won a thrilling matchday one contest against Georgia, just when the pressure was ramping up with the game level after an hour.

Guler started the tournament looking like a moments player, but grew into his surroundings with every passing game. The Turks were narrowly defeated by the Netherlands and knocked out at the quarter-final stage, but the teenager was immense.

The progression he showed through the tournament is seriously impressive. Watch out for him in 2024-25.

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6. Jude Bellingham (-1)

All eyes were on Bellingham who’s fresh off of winning a La Liga-Champions League double in his first season at Real Madrid, with the pressure on his shoulders nigh-on incomprehensible at this point.

It’s been largely uninspiring for the most part – like England as a whole – but Bellingham’s clutch gene cannot be ignored.

With just how reliable he’s been in those big moments, it’s incredibly easy to forget that Bellingham is still actually only 20.

Predators on, fade sharp, he was Johnny on the spot for England, heading them to victory in an otherwise cagey opener against Serbia and rescued their tournament in the final seconds of the last 16 with a bicycle kick equaliser against Slovakia.

Much like England’s tournament as a whole, it’s not been pretty, but he’s stepped up when it’s mattered and that’s what counts.

5. Florian Wirtz (Germany) (+1)

An extremely smooth operator, the 21-year-old ran onto a loose pass on the edge of the box and fired home a brilliant strike as Germany thrashed Scotland in matchday one.

He lost his place in the starting XI as Germany made their way past Denmark in the last 16, with Julian Nagelsmann finding more value in Leroy Sane’s pacey profile and direct runs.

His goal against Spain in the quarters was reward to Wirtz’s persistence, although the loss in Stuttgart dampened the nation’s spirits.

4. Nico Williams (Spain) (=)

Unfortunate to miss out in the first round of rankings, Williams is now firmly in the mix and continues to ascend as the tournament progresses.

There is a case to be made that his showing against Italy was the best individual performance at the tournament so far, and it’s a strong case. The 21-year-old was electric, completing four take-ons, winning a foul and having Giovanni Di Lorenzo on toast all evening.

That was until he turned it up a notch once again as Spain blitzed Georgia. He’s one of the most exciting footballers to watch right now, owning the left flank like it’s nobody’s business. He appears to be finding his stride at the perfect time.

3. Jamal Musiala (Germany) (-1)

For the first time throughout the entire tournament, Musiala has slipped away from top spot in our power rankings, but through very little fault of his own.

Musiala was undoubtedly the star of the show in the group stages, setting the tone early in matchday one against Scotland and getting better as the tournament progressed.

Getting caught one-on-one with this lad is enough to leave you with severe PTSD. He wraps you up in knots, untangles you, then repeats just for a laugh, before leaving you in the dust.

Three goals in five games so far doesn’t do justice to exactly how incredible he’s been, particularly when driving at players and weaving through gaps that he’s creating in real-time.

It’s tight at the top, though, and his closest rival has been marginally more influential for their nation…

Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland during the World Cup 2022 qualifier football match between Italy and Switzerland at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy on 12 November 2021.

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2. Kobbie Mainoo (England) (+1)

With every minute Mainoo plays, you wonder what on earth Gareth Southgate was thinking in not starting him.

The Three Lions have looked increasingly dominant the more he’s played and – thanks to him – have played their way into back-to-back Euro finals.

Coming off the bench as a late substitute as England edged past Serbia in their tournament opener, Mainoo made his competitive debut for the Three Lions after a breakout season for Manchester United, playing four minutes plus added time.

He was given another substitute cameo in their 0-0 draw with Slovenia – this time an entire half of football – and was praised for immediately changing the game, putting England back on the front foot.

The cat was out of the bag for good. Warming up when it matters most, Mainoo put in yet another jaw-dropping display in the semi-final against Netherlands, to help England punch their ticket to Berlin and – crucially – make it a one vs one shootout for the Young Player of the Tournament award.


1. Lamine Yamal (Spain) (=)

When he’s not dropping pen to paper to do his homework, he’s dropping shoulders and sending defenders to the floor.

This kid is absolutely ridiculous – and he’s nowhere near his best yet. He heads into the final holding the top spot, having become the youngest scorer in men’s Euro history.

And in some bloody style.

Nerves ought to have shook Yamal much more than they have on his Euro debut for Spain, but the 16-year-old has been cooler than the seeds in a cucumber in every single game from their opener against Croatia, right through to knocking out France in the semi-final.

He’s made a habit out of embarrassing people twice his age in the time since, before retreating back to his hotel room to do his revising. Not only has Yamal passed his school exams, but he’s absolutely lighting up Euro 2024 for Spain with an unrelenting creativity.

And when the lights were shining bright, with Spain tasked with slaying the beast that is the tournament hosts, Yamal stood tall and took the chain from Musiala’s neck, but he now has Mainoo looking to take it from him. Roll on Sunday.