Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United men are among the past winners of the prestigious Golden Boy award – but how do the winners and other nominees tend to fare afterwards?
Established in 2003 by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, the award sees journalists from 12 different publications vote on the youngster they deemed to have been the “most impressive” throughout any calendar year.
Wayne Rooney won the second award in 2004, after Rafael Van Der Vaart was awarded the inaugural trophy, with only one other English player winning it exactly 10 years down the line.
Raheem Sterling won the 2014 award, and having been bloody brilliant in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side this season, we thought we’d take a look at who he was shortlisted alongside, including four other English players.
Sterling won the award after truly announcing himself as one of the best young players in the world with a string of excellent displays for Liverpool – and attracting the interest of Manchester City, of course.
The winger went on to join the Citizens for £50million and is now one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England teamsheet.
Raheem Sterling has now scored as many goals this season (21) as he managed in his two previous Man City campaigns combined.
Incredible development. 📈 pic.twitter.com/X5eIgJSZq6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 31, 2018
Chambers hasn’t quite kicked on as hoped, though Arsenal’s persistence with a back three may help him, and he has seen some game time on the right hand side of that three.
Zouma signed a new six-year contract with Chelsea in the summer of 2017 before spending a season on loan at Stoke.
He received the highest praise of all in November of that year when Ryan Shawcross described him the “ultimate defender” and said he was shocked that Chelsea allowed him to leave on loan.
Another £50million Manchester City man, also playing a key role in the England set-up, as he is expected to for many years to come.
He is still actually at Liverpool, though you could be forgiven for not knowing it. The winger has had four temporary clubs since joining Liverpool from Benfica in the summer of 2014; Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon, Hull City and Anderlecht.
Despite debuting for Lille in 2012, Origi is still only 22, and scored six goals in the Bundesliga during a season long loan at Wolfsburg in 2017-18.
While six different clubs had two players shortlisted, Liverpool were the only club represented three times.
Looks like Divock Origi is finding life at Wolfburg tougher these days despite his good start.
Does he still have a future at Liverpool? 🤔
Tell us why you think so…
— Fields Of Anfield Road (@FOARsite) March 26, 2018
Shortlisted in the year his career took off – and promptly descended. After much speculation over which nation he would choose – with the media reporting four options including England – he lined up for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup.
He left Manchester United last summer to join Real Sociedad and managed to work his way back into the national side, having not represented them for three years after his debut.
Jose Mourinho doesn’t like him, and after a torrid few years Shaw could be set to leave United on a free when his contract expires next summer.
Bentaleb joined Schalke on loan in 2016, and had a sly dig at Tottenham supporters when he said during a losing run: “We fight, and I think that’s why the fans are behind us.
“I do not know that from England. If you lose there, nobody will support you in the stadium.”
His move to Schalke was made permanent soon after.
Another England regular, Dier was shortlisted in the year he joined Spurs, having moved from Sporting Lisbon.
He in fact struggled to find a position at first, lining up at right-back and centre back, though now has his place nailed down as a holding midfielder under Mauricio Pochettino.
Deulofeu has had a bizarre time of it to say the least. After moving permanently to Everton following a successful loan spell (via a period at Sevilla), he joined AC Milan on loan, impressing enough to persuade Barcelona to activate their buy-back clause, only to loan him to Watford.
Confused? Same. Watford fans got their wish in 2018 though as they secured his services on a permanent basis.
Gerard Deulofeu on a return to Barcelona: “It will be very difficult for me to return. Barcelona let me leave on loan because they do not have an interest in me while I had not played in a long time – things were not working out and I was not happy sitting on the bench." pic.twitter.com/oZ5fJoWfag
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) March 26, 2018
The second of three defenders on the 2014 shortlist that Manchester City have paid at least £50million for, Guardiola made Laporte the second most expensive defender in the world when he signed him for £57million in January 2018.
A questionable nomination, Sandro spent the majority of 2014 playing for Barcelona B, and though registered with Barcelona, the award is supposedly for players in top-flight divisions only.
He left Barcelona for Malaga in 2016 before moving to England, playing 13 times for Everton ahead of a loan move to Sevilla. The forward scored once in 33 appearances for both clubs throughout the 2017-18 campaign.
Another who was nominated despite only a handful of appearances for Barcelona’s first team in 2014, Munir is still with the club, and netted 14 goals on loan at Alaves last term.
After making his debut for Spain way back in 2014, Munir attempted to switch nationalities ahead of the 2018 World Cup, a move which was blocked by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Nominated thanks to a breakthrough season on loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul has made over 200 competitive appearances for Atletico Madrid and formed part of Spain’s World Cup squad in Russia this summer.
Another who has stayed at the same club since progressing through the system, Berardi has made over 150 appearances for Sassuolo, averaging better than a goal every three games.
He is Sassuolo’s all-time record goalscorer. Not bad for a 23-year-old winger.
After being half-owned by Crotone and Fiorentina as a youngster, Bernardeschi joined Juventus last summer for a reported €40million.
Still just 22, Coman has won an incredible six major league titles across France, Italy and Germany, and is currently at Bayern Munich.
After over 100 appearances in four years at Lazio, Keita joined Monaco last summer.
With over 300 senior career appearances at club and international level, Kovacic has shown his true quality during time at Dinamo Zagreb, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, though he has fallen slightly out of favour at the Bernabeu, with rumours linking him to the Premier League.
Not far behind Kovacic in terms of appearances, Calhanoglu is now a key player at AC Milan and for the Turkish national team.
Failing to get much first-team action at Bayern Munich, Hojbjerg spent time on loan at Augsburg and Schalke before joining Southampton in 2016.
Another who struggled for game time at Bayern is Gaudino, who left but has played just three times since joining Chievo last summer.
Ginter was shortlisted the year he moved from Freiburg to Dortmund and won the World Cup as Germany’s youngest squad member – despite not making it onto the pitch. He switched to Borussia Monchengladbach in 2017 after asking to leave Dortmund.
Green made five appearances for Hamburg on loan from Bayern to earn a place on the shortlist. The US international joined Greuther Furth permanently in 2018 after a season-long loan from Stuttgart.
Schalke have managed to fight off some serious interest in their playmaker to keep hold of him, and he has made almost 200 appearances for the German club.
He is out of contract this summer, however, and confirmed he will be leaving the club in a heated exchange with the owners. Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly among the suitors.
Just two months after his 19th birthday, PSG signed Marquinhos from Roma for over €30million. He has lifted 16 trophies so far, making over 200 appearances.
Rabiot is in his fifth successive season as a regular in the PSG first team, and also passed 200 appearances for the club in 2018.
The third £50million+ Manchester City defender to be shortlisted in 2014 is Mendy, who was unfortunate to sit out most of Guardiola’s title-winning campaign through injury, seeing Fabian Delph and more recently Laporte take his left-back slot.
— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) March 5, 2018
Ocampos moved from River Plate to Monaco for a Ligue 2 record fee in 2012, and is now at Marseille, where he hit 16 goals throughout the 2017-18 campaign.
Midfielder Vilhena is in his best goalscoring season to date for Feyenoord, netting 13 times in the 2017-18 campaign after passing the 200 appearance mark for the Dutch club.
Willems became the youngest ever player to feature at a European Championships when he lined up for the Netherlands two months after turning 18 back in 2012.
He was a regular for PSV from before then, but a knee injury in 2016 ruled him out for the season and the Euros, and he moved to Eintracht Frankfurt a year later.
Milik smashed an impressive 47 goals in 75 games for Ajax, and is currently with Napoli where a second cruciate ligament injury in a short space of time has taken its toll on his season.
Praet was voted as the best player in the Belgian first division in 2014, earning his first and only international cap in the same year. He left Anderlecht in 2016 to join Sampdoria.
Playing alongside Praet for Anderlecht, Mitrovic attracted Newcastle’s attentions in 2015 after hitting 28 goals in 51 appearances in the 2014-15 campaign.
Supporters love him, and he even claimed to be a lifelong supporter, telling The Telegraph in 2016: “I have followed Newcastle my whole life. I had two Newcastle shirts when I was little. It was unusual … but for me, it has always been Newcastle.”
And this year he’s managed to anger Aston Villa fans after a loan to Fulham has seen him hit 12 goals in 17 Championship appearances, with some supporters at Villa Park claiming he has been sent there because of Newcastle’s relegation – thanks to Villa – in 2009. Fulham went on to beat Villa in the play-off final.
The case of Oliver Torres is a strange one. Loaned to Porto in 2014-15, he returned to parent club Atletico with high hopes, and was a regular in their side with an outside chance of making the Spanish World Cup squad.
But while he was likened to Xavi, Simeone preferred others with greater physicality, with Saul Niguez progressing at the same time but seen as a tougher build. Oliver was cast aside. He returned to Porto on loan in 2016, a move which was made permanent just six months later.
After spells in Portugal, Turkey and Spain, Bruma joined RB Leipzig last summer.
The Paraguayan striker has been frozen out at Dynamo Kiev after a long-running transfer saga in 2017 saw a move to Seattle Sounders fall through.
Ninkovic helped Partizan Belgrade to three league titles in five years before joining Genoa, but he is currently on loan at Serie B side Empoli.
Zahovic and his father Zlatko became only the second father-and-son duo to score in the Champions League – after Abedi Pele and his two sons Andre and Jordan Ayew.
Junior, meanwhile, has circled back to former club Maribor, after a brief stop at Dutch side Heerenveen.
Unai Emery was kicking every ball on the touchline
Who are you backing to win promotion?
One b*llock each in the centre of Atleti’s defence
There’s some really tricky names in this one.
Who would’ve done better than Maurizio Sarri?
A mixture of Americans, big names and No.10s.
This 30-yard effort was absolutely ferocious.
A brilliant interview from Gary Neville.
A few of these will get you thinking.
Three of the 14 didn’t even last one season there.