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How does Golden Boy voting work? Nominees and format explained

According to the Golden Boy’s official website, its “famous panel” has “not misjudged a winner over the years”.

The likes of Wayne Rooney (Golden Boy winner in 2004), Lionel Messi (2005) and Sergio Aguero (2007) serve as potent examples of prodigious young talents that blossomed into senior stars. But it would take a very generous appraisal of the careers of Anderson (2008) or Alexandre Pato (2009) to suggest that the Golden Boy panel boasts a 100% strike rate.

Billed as “Europe’s most innovative award” (again, by its own publication) the Golden Boy singles out the best male player plying their trade in one of Europe’s top tiers under the age of 21 each year.

Here’s everything you need to know about how the famous judges come to their supposedly unerring decision.

Name

Club

Jamal Musiala

Bayern Munich

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid

Gavi

Barcelona

Antonio Silva

Benfica

Alejandro Balde

Barcelona

Xavi Simons

PSV Eindhoven

Florian Wirtz

Bayer Leverkusen

Benjamin Sesko

RB Salzburg

Devyne Rensch

Ajax

Giorgio Scalvini

Atalanta

Lucas Gourna-Douath

RB Salzburg

Arthur Vermeeren

Royal Antwerp

Rayan Cherki

Olympique Lyonnais

Harvey Elliott

Liverpool

Milos Kerkez

AZ Alkmaar

Rasmus Hojlund

Atalanta

Rico Lewis

Manchester City

Arnau Martinez

Girona

Emanuel Emegha

SK Sturm Graz

Elias Jelert

FC Copenhagen

Stefan Bajcetic

Liverpool

Martin Baturina

Dinamo Zagreb

Levi Colwill

Chelsea

Warren Zaire-Emery

Paris Saint-Germain

Martin Vitik

Sparta Praha

Ernest Nuamah

FC Nordsjaelland

Ismael Doukoure

RC Strasbourg

Zeno Debast

Anderlecht

Bjorn Meijer

Club Brugge

Johan Bakayoko

PSV Eindhoven

Mathys Tel

Bayern Munich

Alejandro Garnacho

Manchester United

Oleksandr Saputin

Zorya Lugansk

Robert Renan

Zenit St. Petersburg

Ariel Mosor

Piast Gliwice

Hugo Larsson

Eintracht Frankfurt

Matija Frigan

HNK Rijeka

Maurits Kjaergaard

RB Salzburg

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Borussia Dortmund

Fabio Mirretti

Juventus

Amane Romeo

BK Hacken

Bilal El Khannous

KRC Genk

Pavlo Isenko

Vorskla Poltava

Evan Ferguson

Brighton

Andy Diouf

FC Basel

Veljko Ilic

TSC Backa Topola

Christos Zafeiris

Norway

Julio Enciso

Brighton

El Chadaille Bitshiabu

Paris Saint-Germain

Hakon Haraldsson

FC Copenhagen

Lesley Ugochukwu

Stade Rennais

Stefan Lekovic

Crvena Zvezda

William Clem

FC Copenhagen

Maksym Dyachuk

Dynamo Kyiv

Aurele Amenda

BSC Young Boys

Valdemar Lund

FC Copenhagen

Sael Kumbedi

Olympique Lyonnais

Johan Bangsbo

IFK Goteborg

Bonsu Baah

Sarpsborg 08 FF

Tommaso Baldanzi

Empoli

Peter Ratkov

RB Salzburg

Joao Neves

Benfica

Viktor Melekhin

FC Rostov

Lucas Hey

Lyngby BK

Youssoufa Moukoko

Borussia Dortmund

Elye Wahi

Montpellier

Romeo Lavia

Southampton

Victor Lind

IFK Norrkoping

Oscar Gloukh

RB Salzburg

Wilfried Gnonto

Leeds United

Noah Persson

BSC Young Boys

Filip Sidklev

IF Brommapojkarna

Otto Rosengren

Mjallby AIF

Tim Oermann

Wolfsberger AC

Arne Engels

FC Augsburg

Mathias Lovik

Molde FK

Marcus Baggesen

IFK Norrkoping

Arda Guler

Fenerbahce

Kacper Kozlowski

Vitesse / Brighton

Isaak Toure

AJ Auxerre

Alexander Busch

Silkeborg IF

Ervin Omic

Wolfsberger AC

Tobias Slotsager

Odense Boldklub

Luka Stojkovic

NK Lotomotiva Zagreb

Mouhamadou Diarra

RC Strasbourg

Facundo Buonanotte

Brighton

Kevin Kelsy

Shakhtar Donetsk

Arsen Zakharyan

FC Dinamo Moskva

Valentin Carboni

Inter

Odin Holm

Valerenga Fotball

Mohamed-Ali Cho

Real Sociedad

Samuel Illing-Junior

Juventus

Desire Doue

Stade Rennais

Ousmane Diomande

Sporting CP

Lewis Hall

Chelsea

Maximo Perrone

Manchester City

Matias Soule

Juventus

Carney Chukwuemeka

Chelsea

Luca Netz

Borussia Monchengladbach

Kevin Parades

VfL Wolfsburg

Perennial Austrian champions RB Salzburg boast the most nominees of any club in Europe, with as many as five players on their books when the 100-player long list was revealed in June.

However, arguably the highest-rated member of that promising quintet, Benjamin Sesko, is set to join sister club RB Leipzig during the summer transfer window.

Prolific talent-spotters Brighton have four players on the list. A total of 13 are under contract at a Premier League club – more than any other division in Europe. Ligue 1 – which carries the slogan, ‘the League of Talents’ – is the only other top flight in double digits for nominees (ten).

Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham, fresh from agreeing a €103m transfer to Real Madrid, are two of the favourites to snatch the golden gong. Reigning holder Gavi is also in contention to reclaim his prize.

After two decades of relying solely upon the received wisdom of international journalists, the Golden Boy has an element of statistical analysis coursing through the 2023 iteration of the award.

Initially created by the Italian sports paper Tuttosport, the Golden Boy has entered into a partnership with Football Benchmark. The self-styled “home of football business data” primarily focuses on the financial aspect of the game – player market value, club revenues, etc. – but has branched out to give the Golden Boy a statistical flavouring.

The 100-player long list was drawn up exclusively according to Football Benchmark’s “humanised algorithm”. FB ranked all eligible players based on three aspects; sporting performance, playing time and club strength before taking into consideration any involvement with the national team or in European club competition.

The end result was one number, between 1 and 100, dubbed ‘the Golden Boy rating’. Musiala recorded the highest Golden Boy rating of 98.3, closely followed by Bellingham (95) and Gavi (93).

Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham (right) and Jamal Musiala became familiar foes in the Bundesliga / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

There is not a great deal of detail about how FB came to this single number which supposedly sums up the myriad of qualities about a player. It is always dangerous when combining lots of information – FB vaguely reveal that they took into consideration “passing, tackling, scoring efficiency, creativity, etc.” – especially when judging players across all positions on the pitch and from 22 different leagues.

Nevertheless, the 100 names spat out of this black box are all under contention in the first round of voting. One month before the award ceremony in December, the long list is cut to the 20 most popular players alongside five “wild cards”.

The final decision is made by the aforementioned panel of 50 journalists. The exact identity of these writers is not revealed but they are said to have “20 years of experience” and hail from publications in England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.

Tuttosport’s editor-in-chief Guido Vaciago loftily billed the new system as a combination of “human intelligence and experience with technological perfection”.

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News

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