As they do every year, Italian newspaper Tuttosport has published a list featuring 100 of the finest footballers under the age of 21. One of these 100 players will be crowned as winner of the Golden Boy Award - the best U21 player in the world!
Three of our players have made it into the top 100. Joško Gvardiol is there, as are Ilaix Moriba and Brian Brobbey, who both spent time away from the club last season.
Simply follow the link and vote for your favourite! The list of 100 will be reduced by 20 players each month until only 20 are left standing come the middle of October. 40 journalists from around the world will then choose the 2022 Golden Boy from among those remaining.
Our rock at the back has had a strong first season in Leipzig. The Croat played 45 competitive first-team games this season, becoming a fixture in the side despite his tender age of just 20. The versatile Gvardiol possesses a strong left-foot and stands out for his tackling as well as the accuracy of his passing in the build-up play. Our number 32 also poses an attacking threat, as shown by his two goals and two assists in the Bundesliga as he helped us to a top-four finish.
The Croatia international was on the pitch for all of our European fixtures last season; six in the Champions League, six in the Europa League. The 20-year-old also played every Pokal game save for the first-round tie in Sandhausen. The point being: Joško has developed into a crucial player for RB Leipzig and was a key cog in the team as they secured Champions League football for next season as well as reaching the Europa League semi-finals and, above all else, triumphing in the DFB-Pokal to lift the club’s first major trophy. He replaced Mohamed Simakan during extra time in the final and helped to solidify a depleted RBL team as they forced the game to penalties with ten men.
Ilaix Moriba and Brian Brobbey
Both Leipzig loanees have managed to gain plenty of experience abroad and have impressed at their respective clubs. Ilaix Moriba was loaned to Valencia back in January and the central midfielder made 14 appearances out of a possible 16. The 19-year-old even got an assist in the Copa del Rey final. His side, however, lost out to Real Betis on penalties. Bryan also went out on loan at the beginning of the year. The 20-year-old is now back with his boyhood club, Ajax. The centre-forward made eleven appearances out of a possible 16 in the Eredivisie and made a good impression with seven goals and one assist. The Netherlands U21s star certainly played his part in helping the Dutch record champions pick up another league title.
Nominees and favourites
22 of Tuttosport’s top 100 young players ply their trade in the Bundesliga. Last year, Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund came second while Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala took third place. The 2021 winner was young Spaniard Pedri of FC Barcelona. That trio are all nominated once more and rank among the favourites. The same goes for Pedri’s teammate Gavi as well as the Champions League winner Eduardo Camavinga of Real Madrid. Dark horses could be Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott, Jérémy Doku of Stade Rennes or Bayern new boy Ryan Gravenberch.
Nominees from the Bundesliga (sorted by club):
Joško Gvardiol, Ilaix Moriba and Brian Brobbey (RB Leipzig), Jamal Musiala, Ryan Gravenberch, Tanguy Nianzou, Malik Tilmann (all FC Bayern), Jude Bellingham, Karim Adeyemi, Jayden Braaf, Ansgar Knauff, Youssoufa Moukoko, Giovanni Reyna (all Borussia Dortmund), Piero Hincapie, Adam Hložek (both Bayer Leverkusen), Jakob Kaminski, Aster Vranckx (bothVfL Wolfsburg), Luca Netz, Joe Scally (both Borussia Mönchengladbach), Georginio Rutter (TSG Hoffenheim), Jan Thielmann (1. FC Köln), Tiago Tomás (VfB Stuttgart)
Other nominees (sorted alphabetically):
Felix Ohene Afena-Gyan (AS Roma), Lucien Jefferson Agoumé (Intenazionale), Anouar Ait El Hadj (Anderlecht), Janis Antiste (Spezia), Alejandro Martinez Baldé (FC Barcelona), Stipe Biuk (Hajduk Split), Edoardo Bove (AS Roma), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Matteo Cancellieri (Hellas Verona), Rayan Cherki (Olympique Lyon), Mohamed-Ali Cho (Angers), Moustapha Elhadji Cissé (Atalanta), Francisco Fernandes da Conceiçao (FC Porto), Yan Bueno Couto (Manchester City), Mohammed Daramy (Ajax), Amar Dedic (RB Salzburg), Amad Traoré Diallo (Manchester United), Manuel Jadon da Silva Diego Moreira, (Benfica), Jérémy Doku (Stade Rennes), Radu Matei Dragusin (Juventus), Hugo Ekitike (Stade de Reims), Anthony David Junior Elanga (Manchester United), Harvey Elliott (Liverpool), Sebastian Esposito (Internazionale), Maxime Estève (Montpellier HSC), Leandro Freitas Gouveia Fábio Carvalho (Liverpool), Daniel Soares Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ansu Fati, (FC Barcelona), Gavi, (FC Barcelona), Joseph Paul Gelhardt (Leeds United), Wilfried Gnonto (FC Zürich), Malo Gusto (Olympique Lyon), Pereira Henrique Araújo (Benfica), Aaron Hickey (Bologna), Ki-Jana Delano Hoever (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Augusto Mendes Mango Joelson Fernandes (FC Basel), Ísak Bergmann Johannesson (FC Copenhagen), Nemanja Jovic (Partizan Belgrade), Arnaud Muinga Kalimuendo (Paris Saint-Germain), Kacper Kozlowski (Union Saint-Gilloise), Isaac Lihadji (Lille), Castello Junior Lukeba (Olympique Lyon), Chukwunonso Tristan Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Eliot Matazo (AS Monaco), Nathanaël Mbuku (Stade de Reims), Fabio Miretti (Juventus), Raul Prescoli Moro (Lazio), Yunus Dimoara Musah (Valencia), Cher Ndour (Benfica), Nicolás González (FC Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Becir Omeragic (FC Zürich), Simone Pafundi (Udinese), Matías Palacios (FC Basel), Guilherme Gonçalves Paulo Bernardo (Benfica), Pedri (FC Barcelona), Yéremy Pino (FC Villarreal), Devyne Rensch (Ajax), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Duarte Rodrigo Ribeiro (Sporting Lisbon), Luka Bezzana (Lazio), Lazar Samardzic (Udinese), Cisse Sandra (Club Brugge), Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham Hotspur), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Benjamin Sesko (RB Salzburg), Brandon Soppy (Udinese), Matías Malvano Soulé (Juventus), Filip Stevanovic (SC Heerenveen), Luka Scucic (RB Salzburg)
The Golden Boy Award has been given out annually since 2003. The inaugural winner is a well-known face in Germany, Rafael van der Vaart. The sole German to win the prize was Mario Götze in 2011. The winners of the Golden Boy Award reads like a “who's who” of modern football: Wayne Rooney (2004), Lionel Messi (2005), Paul Pogba (2013), Kylian Mbappé (2017) and Erling Haaland (2020) are all household names.
Should you wish to vote for Joško, Ilaix or Brian to win this prestigious award, you can do so here:
List of former winners:
Rafael van der Vaart (2003), Wayne Rooney (2004), Lionel Messi (2005), Cesc Fàbregas (2006), Sergio Agüero (2007), Anderson (2008), Alexandre Pato (2009), Mario Balotelli (2010), Mario Götze (2011), Isco (2012), Paul Pogba (2013), Raheem Sterling (2014), Anthony Martial (2015), Renato Sanches (2016), Kylian Mbappé (2017), Matthijs de Ligt (2018), João Félix (2019), Erling Haaland (2020), Pedri (2021)