Tag Archives: Pedri

Golden Boy award winners – Ranked

It was announced earlier this week that Barcelona youngster Pedri was the winner of the 19th edition of the coveted ‘Golden Boy’ award.

The award is handed to the best Under-21 player in Europe’s top leagues based on a vote by sports journalists, based on the performances during the calendar year.

Looking through the list of previous winners, there have been some hits and misses as to how their careers ended up. But who is the best? Who is the worst? I’ve ranked them all, starting with the worst.



Alexandre Pato

The Brazilian was one of the most exciting prospects to come out of Brazil when he joined AC Milan but after an impressive couple of years, injuries took their toll and Pato never made the impact he was meant to. It might strike you to realise he is only 32 these days, but plays in the MLS with Orlando.

Anderson

If you look at Anderson’s CV, there’s an argument that he shouldn’t be this low down. But when you consider that injuries absolutely battered him throughout his career and most of those accolades came due to being part of an amazing squad, he has to be near the bottom.

All Golden Boy winners from 2003 and where they are now, including,  Balotelli, Renato Sanches and Haaland – The Sun

Mario Balotelli

The Italian broke onto the scene with Inter Milan, but a career that has been clouded in controversy didn’t go without it’s moments. The ‘Why Always Me?’, the fireworks, the fights with the manager are balanced out with the assist for *that* Aguero goal and his Euro 2012 performances get him off the bottom.

Anthony Martial

The Manchester United man is only 25-years-old as of this writing, but he’s really failed to kick on since winning this award in 2015. He’s lost that X-factor he had when he first moved to Old Trafford and while he’s got time to turn it around still, at his current trajectory he’d be considered a disappointment.

Rafael Van der Vaart

The inaugral winner of the award was a star for Ajax before earning himself a move to Real Madrid via Hamburg. But under the brightest of lights he struggled to really make an impact and the rest of his career was spent as being the best player in relatively mediocre sides.

CM: Sanches on the move; Jorge Mendes' plan with AC Milan

Renato Sanches

The star of a young Benfica side who helped Portugal to their first ever international trophy at Euro 2016, Sanches looked destined for greatness. A poor move to Bayern Munich and injuries have stalled his development and while he finally looks to be getting back to a high level, it’s too early to have him above some of these guys in the list.

Mario Gotze

There may not be a more iconic career moment from anyone on this list than Gotze scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final during extra-time in 2014. Since then though it’s been downhill, with injuries and a loss of form seeing him become a shadow of his former self. He’s only 29 now, but he plays for PSV in the Eredivisie.

Pedri

2021’s winner gets into this list at this height simply because it’s far too early to put him any higher or lower. His career has been strictly high points thus far, becoming a key member of the Barcelona team and putting in amazing performances during Euro 2020 to help Spain to the semi-finals. If he continues at this level, he will be one of the best in the world without a doubt.

Matthijs De Ligt

The only defender to win the award, De Ligt is still considered one of the best young defenders in the world. After helping Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals as their teenage captain, he earned a move to Juventus where he’s failed to rip up any trees but has maintained a steady level of performances. There’s definitely more to come from the Dutchman.

João Félix has already received the Golden Boy Award! - SL Benfica

Joao Felix

Felix blew up with his performances for Benfica in the Europa League and earned a nine-figure move to Atletico Madrid. Since moving though, injuries and a style of play that doesn’t really suit him have seen him stagnate. We’ve seen some top level performances in that time though, so we know the talent is still there.

Isco

The Spanish playmaker was a superstar in the making and was a key member of the Spain and Real Madrid side for years, with his brilliant guile and technical ability on show regularly. He’s won it all but the last few years have seen him barely touch the pitch and that will affect his legacy somewhat. A top player though, without doubt.

Erling Haaland

2020’s winner is currently regarded as one of the best strikers in the world despite being just the tender age of 21. His phenomenal goalscoring record has got everyone’s attention and the ease with which he’s taken to top level football is a sight to behold. He has got a long and successful career ahead of him, without a doubt.

Two Liverpool players make shortlist for Golden Boy award - with one former  Reds youngster nominated - Liverpool Echo

Raheem Sterling

The Manchester City and England winger won the award during his time at Anfield as a Liverpool player and hasn’t looked back since. He is the City player with the most goals under Pep Guardiola, has won everything at club level except the Champions League and even helped England to their best tournament finish since 1966 at Euro 2020. A superstar.

Paul Pogba

Despite his time in England since returning to Manchester United splitting opinions on him, Pogba’s talent is and always has been undeniable. He broke into a title winning Juventus team, is a leader at international level and scored in a World Cup final. His United stint may be up for debate, but his career is not.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas has had success everywhere he has been until he moved to Monaco, but the levels he reached during his prime have him down as one of the best midfielders of his generation. He won everything there is to win at club level and international level, while being a key player in every success and will be remembered greatly despite the winding down of his career at a relatively young age.

Pin on My Boy

Sergio Aguero

The man with the most iconic moment in Premier League history, Aguero’s legacy as a world class footballer is undeniable. He is the player with the most hat-tricks in Premier League history, the most goals in Man City history, the most goals by a foreign player in Premier League history and he’s top three goalscorers in Argentinian national team history. Unfortunately forced to retire early due to heart problems, but he will go down as a great.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is only 22-years-old at the time of writing this, but his legacy is already solidified. He won the league with Monaco as a teenager against a dominant PSG side, then switched to Paris to become a cornerstone of their recent success. He’s won golden boots, trophies and even became the youngest player since Pele to score in a World Cup final. The scary thing is, he’s only getting better too.

Wayne Rooney

It’s crazy to think that some people believe Wayne Rooney never fulfilled his potential despite ending his career as the all-time top goalscorer for Manchester United and England. He won it all at club level, playing several positions and is the owner of several iconic moments. A world class footballer and one of the best his country has ever produced, he was a true golden boy.

GOAL on Twitter: "Lionel Messi winning the European Golden Boy trophy back  in 2005 🏆 https://t.co/Iumxd5UBpi" / Twitter

Lionel Messi

There was no other option for the number one ranking of this award, because the greatest player of all-time won it back in 2005. The only ‘Golden Boy’ to go on to win the Ballon d’Or, he has gone on to do everything except win a World Cup and his legacy will transcend generations. Without a doubt the greatest I’ve ever seen, it’s a no brainer that he sits at number one on this list.

Why Barcelona’s future isn’t as bleak as it seemed in the summer

When Lionel Messi told the world that he was leaving Barcelona on a free transfer last summer, their entire football world looked like it was crumbling.

Newly elected president Joan Laporta told everyone that the finances at the club were so bad that the Spanish Football Federation wouldn’t allow the club to re-sign Messi to a new contract, allowing him to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

Ronald Koeman was an unpopular choice in charge, Luis Suarez had just won La Liga with Atletico Madrid and Barca’s squad looked horrendous.



The season hasn’t started particularly well either. They’re currently bottom of their Champions League group, failing to hit a shot on target in their defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in their two games so far while they’re languishing in ninth place in La Liga with just three wins from seven games.

But while the performances on the pitch aren’t the best right now, fans are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Deadline day saw the club finally rid themselves of Antoine Griezmann after a poor two year stint at the Camp Nou.

Koeman promoted some young players into the first-team to help bolster numbers, including youngster Gavi who just became the youngest Spain international ever.

Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, Gavi, of Spain in action during the UEFA Nations League 2021 Semi-final match between Italy and Spain at Giuseppe Meazza...
Gavi became Spain’s youngest ever international during the recent international break

With new superstar Pedri committing his long-term future to the club, signing a new five-year deal with a €1bn release clause, also one of the first-choice midfielders on the team-sheet.

Add to that the fact Frenkie De Jong is already at the club, Memphis is entering his prime years in attack and Ansu Fati has taken the number 10 shirt with no pressure and has returned from serious injury with a point to prove.

It means that while it’s by no means the finished product, there is a silver lining for fans to look forward to.

Eventually Koeman is going to leave and so long as Barcelona can bring someone in with the right mentality and a progressive style, then the foundations are there for them to get back to the top of the mountain.

Players of FC Barcelona celebrating their team's third goal during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on...

Barcelona have potentially got three top level midfielders at the start of their careers and one of the best attackers of his generation already at the club and ready to step up into senior roles.

If they can fix their recruitment to get those players the support they need, don’t be shocked to see them make a comeback to the top of the game in the near future.

Pedri signs new Barcelona deal with €1BN release clause

Barcelona have moved to ensure they don’t suffer another Lionel Messi situation with their new midfield star Pedri, after he signed a new five-year deal with the club.

The 18-year-old midfielder has grown in the last 12 months to become a key player for both club and country, but was into the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona moved quickly to sign him to fresh terms after his breakthrough and a deal was agreed until 2026, with the club entering a €1bn release clause into the contract.



Pedri made an amazing 52 appearances for the Catalan giants last season under Ronald Koeman as they finished in third place in La Liga, before starring at Euro 2020 in midfield for Spain as they reached the semi-finals under Luis Enrique.

He then went with the national team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer, helping the side earn a silver medal as they were defeated by Brazil in the final.

After starting the season with Barcelona, the youngster has been given a well deserved break recently in order to avoid burnout and/or injury.

But despite that, his importance to the club as a whole has been clear for all to see and the club have ensure that what once happened to Neymar at the club won’t happen again by inserting a world-record €1bn release clause into his contract.

In Spain every player must have a release clause inserted into their contract by law, but Pedri’s now ties Karim Benzema with the largest in the sport.

The club are in the midst of a huge rebuild after their poor financial position was unearthed by new president Joan Laporta.

Their finances meant they weren’t allowed to re-sign Lionel Messi to a new contract, which led to him signing for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in the summer.

Barcelona are now looking forward to their future and are hoping to have Ansu Fati, Gavi, Ousmane Dembele and Ronald Araujo join Pedri in signing new long-term contracts with the club.

Euro 2020: Young players to watch

Euro 2020 is upon us after a 12-month delay and it means there will be plenty of faces at the tournament this summer that wouldn’t have been originally.

24 nations will compete to be crowned champions of Europe while playing across 11 cities on the continent, but many will be relying on young players in their squads to fill a role.

Whether that role be as a starter, competition for a place, an impact sub or just filling numbers and earning experience there are plenty of quality youngsters that will be involved. With the tournament kicking off tomorrow, here are five youngsters to keep a close eye on.

Pedri

The Barcelona youngster made a very big impression in his first season with the first-team under Ronald Koeman.

Originally coming through as a winger, the 18-year-old moved over into central midfield as the season progressed and made the role his own alongside Frenkie De Jong and Sergio Busquets. A fantastic passer, Pedri is also a great dribbler and breaks the lines well. Defensively his work rate is excellent too and while he faces plenty of competition to get into the side, once he gets his chance I fully expect him take it with both hands.

His transition from Las Palmas to Barcelona was seamless, and I expect his transition to international football will be just as good.

Jamal Musiala

FBL-EURO-2020-2021-FRIENDLY-GER-LAT : News Photo

After coming through the Chelsea academy and representing England at youth level, Jamal Musiala made the move to Germany with Bayern Munich and chose to represent the country of his birth at international level.

At just 18-years-old, Musiala established himself as part of Bayern’s first-team squad this season and made 39 appearances, scoring seven times. Playing mostly as a number ten when he did play, his willingness to play on the half-turn and confidence to try things with the ball really set him apart from the rest of the players his age.

His end product is great and he won’t be expected to play much, but if given the chance he is good enough to make an impact against any defence he may come up against.

Phil Foden

This might be a bit of a cop out since Foden has been on everyone’s list for a couple of years, but if this tournament took place last year as it was meant to then he wouldn’t have been in the squad.

This season though he had a superb campaign with Manchester City, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year and registering double digits for goals and assists across all competitions. Brilliant passing, a delicate first touch, driving dribbling and versatile with the positions he can play, Foden will be right in Gareth Southgate’s thinking for the England team

He’s probably the one who will play the biggest role for his nation during this tournament and is a superstar in the making.

Nuno Mendes

Nuno Mendes of Portugal controls the ball during the international friendly match between Spain and Portugal at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June...

The only defender on this list comes from the reigning European champions and is another player who has benefited from the tournament being delayed by a year.

Playing as a left-back or left wing-back for Sporting CP this season, the Lisbon side won the league for the first time in 19 years and Mendes was a big part of that. His pace is tremendous and his drive with the ball makes him a constant threat going forward.

He started both warm-up games in the build up tournament and it seems that he is the new first-choice left-back ahead of Raphael Guerreiro, so he has some big shoes to fill.

Ryan Gravenberch

Holland are well known for producing absolute gems when it comes to young players, but Gravenberch might be the best one in a little while.

The Ajax starlet broke into the first-team this season as they won another Eredivisie title and played a starring role in central midfield. Compared to Paul Pogba because of his tall frame but brilliant technical ability, the 18-year-old has got all the attributes to really dominate a midfield and control a midfield.

Alongside the experience of Gini Wijnaldum and composure of De Jong in midfield, Gravenberch has a great chance of making a real name for himself this summer.