Bengaluru, Nov. 28: The Golden Boy Award for the 2019 season has been out and Atletico Madrid's Summer signing Joao Felix is the latest name to grab the recognition.
The award has been handed out by journalists since 2003 and recognises the best footballer in the world aged 21 or under for their achievements over a calendar year.
At first Italian outlet, Tuttosport started the prestige but soon all the top media outlets from various continents like Bild (Germany), Blick (Switzerland), A Bola (Portugal), l'Équipe (France), France Football (France), Marca (Spain), Mundo Deportivo (Spain), Ta Nea (Greece), Sport Express (Russia), De Telegraaf (Netherlands), and The Times (UK) have joined the program.
Winning the award, Felix becomes the 16th person to achieve the feat. Here is the list of other 15 previous winners and how their career sparked after winning the prize:
2003 - Rafael van der Vaart
He's the first person to win the trophy. The retired Dutch playmaker was awarded for his superb stint with Ajax. Over the long years, he has had spells at Hamburg, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Betis and is regarded as one of the finest players to don the Netherland jersey.
2004 - Wayne Rooney
One of the biggest names of world football, Rooney too surely has lived up to the hype after getting the fame at Euro 2004, becoming the youngest goalscorer in the tournament's history. One of the best players of PL era, he still is top scorer for England and Manchester United.
2005 - Lionel Messi
Words fall short when it comes to this playmaker. The Argentine arguably is one of the best players of all time and still creating records for club and country.
2006 - Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas won the Golden Boy award while at Arsenal. He did not grab much silverware there but over the course of his career at Barcelona and Chelsea, he surely has established himself as one of the top players of all time, living upto the full hype.
2007 - Sergio Aguero
Won the trophy while at Atletico and now has embarked himself as a legend of the game and Premier League. Currently the top scorer of Manchester City he surely is one of the finest forwards of all time.
2008 - Anderson
Has had a decent spell at United after winning the prestige in Porto. But soon after joining the Red Devils he started to fade and could not live up to the potential. He has retired from football this year after some recent spells in Brazil.
2009 - Alexandre Pato
Another Golden Boy winner who has not quite made it. In his initial days, he was brilliant for AC Milan as a 20-year-old, but injuries saw his development hampered. He later tried his luck in Chelsea before moving to China with Tianjin Tianhai. In 2019, he's back in Brazil with Sao Paulo.
2010 - Mario Balotelli
A big prodigy at Inter and Manchester City, the Italian faded away from the game after some quick flashes. His time at both the sides were successful but controversy and lack of consistency never allowed him to make it big. He is currently plying his trade in Brescia in Serie A.
2011 - Mario Gotze
The golden boy of German football, Gotze helped his country to win the World Cup and his rising at Dortmund was spectacular and it helped him win the award. But frequent injuries wrecked his spell at Bayern Munich. A return to Dortmund in 2016 has seen him get back on track, but he hasn't been called for his national team since 2017.
2012 - Isco
Isco won the Golden Boy award at the age of 20 for his Malaga performance. Later in 2013, he moved to Real Madrid and it has been a mixed time so far for him. But there is still time left for him to shine again.
2013 - Paul Pogba
One of the best midfielder of World football at the moment, Pogba won the trophy after leaving United for Juventus. He later joined United again and the Frenchman is still regarded as a top player.
2014 - Raheem Sterling
Was a top talent in Liverpool when he won the trophy but since joining Manchester City he has been a further top-notch till now. He is only improving further and right now certainly is one of the best attackers in Europe.
2015 - Anthony Martial
Martial arrived at Old Trafford in 2015 and his impressive performances for Monaco saw him win the Golden Boy award. His career at United, however, has been mixed but certainly, there's more to come from him.
2016 - Renato Sanches
Shot to fame for his brilliant campaign at Euro with Portugal but with club football, he has not made it big yet. Bayern signed him up for a big fee from Benfica but due to underwhelming performance, this season has sold him to Lille.
2017 - Kylian Mbappe
Is viewed as the player of the future generation who could challenge the likes of Messi and Ronaldo and rightly so he has so far lived up to the potential. But certainly, there's still a long path to go.
2018 - Matthijs de Ligt
Captained Ajax just as a 20-year-old and helped the side last season to win the league as well reaching the semifinal of UCL. His impressive form saw him grabbing a big-money move to Juventus this season and surely his far more best years are ahead of him.