20-year-old Real Madrid starlet Jude Bellingham leads the 2023 Golden Boy Award nominees. The former captain is enjoying a thrilling start to his new midfield role for Los Blancos, scoring eight goals and notching three assists in nine La Liga games. He also has two goals and an assist in the Champions League, putting him on par with the great Ronaldo, who scored ten goals in 10 games in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The Englishman became Real Madrid's second most expensive signing after Eden Hazard. Unlike the injury-plagued Belgian, who recently announced retirement, Bellingham's €103.00m transfer looks like a steal. His star-studded performances foreshadow a new star after Messi and Ronaldo. 

The Golden Boy Award goes to the best under-21 player in Europe, with Erling Haaland, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe once taking the crown.

Shockingly (or not), Barca's young standouts Gavi and Pedri didn't make the final 2023 Golden Boy Award list. But that's because La Masia graduates won it in the last two years, Pedri in 2021 and Gavi in the previous year. Their teammate, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, is on the list, though. The Golden Boy Award goes to a new recipient each year. 

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So, who else should be in the running to win the 2023 Golden Boy Award? 

Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala for one. The German forward helped Bayern win the league on last season's final day. He recorded 16 goals and assists during the entire 22/23 campaign. 

Manchester United's £72m man Rasmus Hojlund is also a leading candidate for the Award. He contributed a stat-worthy goal every 204 minutes last season in the Serie A — he finished with 16 strikes and seven assists in all competitions for Atalanta BC. This season, he's already scored three for the Red Devils in the Champions League. 

The Golden Boy Award winner will be announced in Turin on December 4.

 Below are the final 25 contenders for the Golden Boy Award. Who do you think takes it home? 

Player NameCurrent Club
Jude BellinghamReal Madrid
Jamal MusialaBayern Munich
SimonsRB Leipzig
António SilvaBenfica
Florian Wirtz
Benjamin SeskoRB Leipzig
Giorgio ScalviniAtalanta
Rasmus HøjlundManchester United
Levi ColwillChelsea
Johan BakayokoPSV Eindhoven
Milos KerkezBournemouth
Arthur VermeerenAntwerp
Evan FergusonBrighton
Lucas Gourna-DouathFC Salzburg
Warren Zaire-EmeryParis Saint-Germain
Ousmane DiomandeSporting Lisbon
Arnau MartínezGirona
Mathys TelBayern Munich
Andy DioufLens
Arda GülerReal Madrid
Bilal El KhannoussGenk
Martin BaturinaDinamo Zagreb
João NevesBenfica
Lamine YamalBarcelona

Photo: Instagram/@judebellingham