The nominations for the 2021 Golden Boy award have been released, and there are no fewer than 11 La Liga players included, with three from each of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The first list of 100 players was released today, and the list will be whittled down to 20 in the coming weeks, after fans have voted on the best players, before journalists from Europe’s leading news organisations decide the winner.
Last season’s winner was coveted Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland, so there are big boots to fill, but La Liga have plenty of entrants ahead of the final 20 being confirmed.
Here are the 11 La Liga stars included, including two players who will become Primera players ahead of next season.
The criteria require players to be under the age of 21 and currently playing for a top-tier team in Europe.
The Barcelona candidates
Three Barcelona stars have made the initial nominations list for the Golden Boy award.
Pedri is the favourite of the three to come out on top having impressed this season and become Spain’s youngest ever debutant at a major tournament at the age of 18 on Monday.
Ilaix Moriba, another 18-year-old, who made 18 first-team appearances for Barca this season, is also included.
Meanwhile, Eric Garcia, who will return to the club ahead of next season on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract at Manchester City, has also made the cut.
Gil was the shining star of Eibar this season as the Basque club suffered relegation to Segunda.
The 20-year-old seized his chance to impress on loan from Sevilla, managing four goals and four assists to make the Spain under-21s squad for the recent U-21s European Championships.
He will return to Sevilla ahead of next season, and already a senior Spain international, it’s thought Gil may earl first-team opportunities at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The Real Madrid contenders
Real Madrid have three nominees for the award at this stage, including the highly-rated Také Kubo, who had a turbulent season.
Kubo initially joined Villarreal on loan for the season but he was passed on to Getafe with the Yellow Submarine not exactly impressed with the youngster’s attitude.
The Japanese talent made 18 La Liga appearance for Getafe ahead of his return to Real Madrid this summer.
Miguel Gutierrez is another who made the extended shortlist, the 19-year-old looking comfortable when asked to fill in for injury-hit Los Blancos, making six La Liga appearances in all.
And there is also a place for Rodrygo, who remains highly rated following a season when he managed 33 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid.
Two Atleti players have been nominated, albeit one is a new player of Los Rojibancos’.
Marcos Paulo, who will arrive this summer from Fluminese, gets the nod, the 20-year-old winger catching the eye with 11 goals and 10 assists in Brazil’s top tier this season.
German Valera is the other Atleti man to make the cut, the winger impressing from afar this season during a loan spell with Segunda outfit Tenerife.
Villarreal winger Pino makes the list after an excellent season which saw him become a Europa League champions.
Pino, who is still just 18 years of age, started the final for Villarreal against Manchester United as the Yellow Submarine made history with their first-ever European and major trophy.
The young winger is a Spain under-21 international, and he looks set to get plenty of opportunities under Unai Emery next season.
Yunus Musah might just be the most exciting part of Valencia‘s future at present amid unrest from fans over the club’s ownership.
Musah is another winger to make the list, and he made no fewer than 35 senior appearances across La Liga and the Copa del Rey this season.
The New York-born starlet is under contract at 2026 and Valencia fans will be hoping he is kept hold of as José Bordálas looks to build his squad for his first season in charge at Mestalla.