It’s that time of the year where coaches and players are rewarded for their performances during the year. Either via mentions or being presented awards, the top performers are recognized for their outstanding play and achievements during the calendar year.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was busy winning the award for the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the year, another equally important award – the Golden Boy award – was being presented to another football player.
The Golden Boy award is given by sports journalists to a young football player playing in Europe perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year (two halves to two separate seasons).
From the word “boy,” all nominees for the award are usually under the age of 21 and play in an European nation’s top tier.
In September, a 25-man shortlist containing the names of contenders for the award was released. The list was later trimmed down from 25 to just three names: Gabriel Jesus, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.
Last week, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe joined a roll call of names like Paul Pogba, Mario Balotelli, Isco and Lionel Messi by winning the award. But winning the award has raised another question: Who really deserved the Golden Boy award?
Being an award that is sole determined by journalists, the answer to that question depends on a whole lot of factors. But as fans of the game, we can still weigh them on our own scale, using some factors, to see who deserved the award more.
2016 was sort of a breakout year for all the three names that made the final shortlist.
Gabriel Jesus shone like a million stars in England. Kylian Mbappe shattered a record or two in the UEFA Champions League and Ousmane Dembele announced himself to the world in Germany.
Of all these three players that made it into the final shortlist for the Golden Boy award, only Kylian Mbappe was able to win a trophy – the French Ligue 1 title with Monaco. Jesus and Manchester City ended the season trophy-less, same for Dembele.
Also, Mbappe and his then club, Monaco, made it the farthest in the UEFA Champions League. That must count for something, right?
Since all three names play, one way or the other, in the forward positions, it’s fair to judge them based on how many goals they got in the calendar year.
Although Mbappe has only scored 4 goals for PSG since joining the French giants in the summer, the French youngster made his mark with Monaco. Last season, he scored 15 goals in the French Ligue 1 for AS Monaco and 6 goals in the Champions League.
Neither Gabriel Jesus nor Ousmane Dembele was able to come close to Mbappe’s numbers during the year.
Yes, the numbers seem to support the French youngster. Maybe the journalists were right to have given him the Golden Boy award. But, who do you think really deserved the award? Should Gabriel Jesus or Ousmane Dembele have won the award instead?
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.